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Journal Impact Factor: “the poor man’s citation analysis” and alternative approaches

Issue: 39(3) August 2013. Essays Pages 62 – 63

Werner Marx
Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research, Heisenbergstr.1, D-70569 Stuttgart, Germany; w.marx@fkf.mpg.de

Lutz Bornmann
Division for Science and Innovation Studies, Administrative Headquarters of the Max Planck Society, Hofgartenstr. 8, 80539 Munich, Germany; bornmann@gv.mpg.de

Abstract

The Journal Impact Factor has a number of drawbacks preventing its use for assessment of separate journal articles and individuals. With that in mind, most experts would endorse the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA), which highlights the appropriate use of bibliometric indicators for quantitative research assessments. To curb the problem of skewed citations, an alternative, normalised metric is proposed.
Percentiles, or percentile rank classes method, is particularly useful for normalisation. It is also advisable to use specific percentile rank classes and to assess individual scientists with Ptop 10% or PPtop 10% indicators

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