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The Impact Factor Fetishism

[journal article]

Fleck, Christian

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Please use the following Persistent Identifier (PID) to cite this document:http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0168-ssoar-415398

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Abstract "One of the most popular indicators is the Impact Factor. This paper examines the coming into being of this highly influential figure. It is the offspring of Eugene Garfield’s experimentation with the huge amounts of data available at his Institute for Scientific Information and the result of a number of attempts to find appropriate measurements for the success ('impact') of articles and journals. The completely inductive procedure was initially adjusted by examining the data thoughtfully and by consulting with experts from different scientific disciplines. Later, its calculation modes were imposed on other disciplines without further consideration. The paper demonstrates in detail the inopportune consequences of this, in particular for sociology. Neither the definition of disciplines, nor the selection of journals for the Web of Science/Social Science Citation Index follows any comprehensible rationale. The procedures for calculating the impact factor are inappropriate. Despite its obvious unsuitability, the impact factor is used by editors of sociological journals for marketing and impression management purposes. Fetishism!" (author's abstract)
Keywords periodical; science; sociology; measurement; indicator; evaluation; ranking
Classification Sociology of Science, Sociology of Technology, Research on Science and Technology; Scientometrics, Bibliometrics, Informetrics
Free Keywords Impact Factor; Web of Science/ Social Science Citation Index; Eugene Garfield; Scientometrics
Document language English
Publication Year 2013
Page/Pages p. 327-356
Journal European Journal of Sociology / Archives Européennes de Sociologie, 54 (2013) 2
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0003975613000167
ISSN 1474-0583
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications