Evaluating research activity: impact factor vs. research factor


The Impact Factor (IF) “has moved ... from an obscure bibliometric indicator to become the chief quantitative measure of the quality of a journal, its research papers, the researchers who wrote those papers, and even the institution they work in” ([2], p. 1). However, the use of this index for evaluating individual scientists is dubious. The present work compares the ranking of research units generated by the Research Factor (RF) index with that associated with the popular IF. The former, originally introduced in [38], reflects article and book publications and a host of other activities categorized as coordination activities (e.g., conference organization, research group coordination), dissemination activities (e.g., conference and seminar presentations, participation in research group), editorial activities (e.g., journal editor, associate editor, referee) and functional activities (e.g., Head of Department). The main conclusion is that by replacing the IF with the RF in hiring, tenure decisions and awarding of grants would greatly increase the number of topics investigated and the number and quality of long run projects.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i2037-3627v2n1p25

Keywords: scientific research assessment, impact factor, bibliometric indexes, feasible Research factor

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