Citation Impact Factors

Writing in the Sept. 14, 1998, issue of The Scientist ("The Under-reporting of Research Impact," 12[18]:9), Ronald N. Kostoff outlines steps to better utilize the Science Citation Index® (SCI) to track research impact. Kostoff states that the cooperation of scientific journals would be needed to ensure the completeness and adequacy of reference lists, as well as to assess whether bibliographies are properly prioritized with respect to the relative importance of each reference. I believe thi

David Watson
Dec 6, 1998

Writing in the Sept. 14, 1998, issue of The Scientist ("The Under-reporting of Research Impact," 12[18]:9), Ronald N. Kostoff outlines steps to better utilize the Science Citation Index® (SCI) to track research impact. Kostoff states that the cooperation of scientific journals would be needed to ensure the completeness and adequacy of reference lists, as well as to assess whether bibliographies are properly prioritized with respect to the relative importance of each reference. I believe this is unlikely to occur for a variety of reasons, including:

  1. The most elite (i.e., highest impact factor) journals also tend to compress reference lists greatly, both by limiting numbers of citations and by omitting titles of papers, to conserve space (which is, of course, at a premium given their multidisciplinary nature).

  2. Journal "Instructions to Authors" frequently state that authors are responsible for the accuracy and completeness of references (hence,...

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