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Growing call to abandon impact factors

Last week a group of publishers, academics, scholarly societies and research funders, from a wide range of disciplines launched a declaration calling on the academic community for a better way to assess research and its impact. The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) was conceived after being initiated by the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) and interested stakeholders, at the ASCB Annual Meeting in December last year.

Traditionally, Journal Impact Factors, which are assigned by Thompson Reuters, (based on the average number of citations papers in a journal receive, during a fixed period), are used in evaluating research for funding, hiring, promotion, or institutional effectiveness. Impact Factors were originally conceived to assist librarians with journal subscriptions! There have been many arguments against why this is flawed including our recent editorial by Richard Smith.

The DORA statement makes a number of recommendations, for all key parties involved in academic research, for change to reduce the dominance of the Journal Impact Factor and instead to focus on the content of primary research papers, regardless of publication venue.
You can sign up to support this declaration, as we have, at http://am.ascb.org/dora/

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