Monday, June 21, 2010

Another datum on why impact factors are useless

The latest newsy thing from the just landed in my inbox. Top story today is titled "New impact factors yield surprises." In the short piece the reporter notes how the impact factor (IF) for Acta Crystallographica - Section A has jumped 20-fold since last year and is now the second highest for science journals (edging out NEJM). This apparently is all due to a single 2008 article, chronicling the development of the SHELX crystallography computer program suite, which garnered some 6600 citations.

Okay, so this is an extreme example of how IF's can be manipulated via review-type publications, but still...

On the other hand, if you're currently on the job market and have a publication in Acta Crystallographica - Section A, you just might want to make note of the current IF in your CV.