Teaching Impact Factors

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(Image adapted from UltimateLibrarian via Flickr.  CC.)

I've found that in the last year I'm getting more and more questions about Impact Factors, h-indexes, and the like.  Last May we gave an overview of using Web of Science to calculate individual impact factors that was popular with the faculty attendees.

When looking into helping faculty discover/calculate these numbers, I've found that they're surprisingly complicated...both finding the numbers and explaining just what exactly is being calculated.

Are others seeing more of an interest in these numbers as well?  How are you teaching it?

I thought I'd highlight a new(ish) resource that you can use to learn more and/or point your patrons/students to if questions arise.  Back in August a group of U of M librarians put together a suite of webpages to provide support on this topic.

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You can access these pages at https://www.lib.umn.edu/researchsupport/impact

You can also find them under Services in the top navigation bar under Researcher Support.

Also U of M Mathematics Librarian, Kris Fowler, co-authored an article on the topic that is a good (and quick!) read.  The full text is available through ArXiv at .

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Valuable resource for faculty, instructors, graduate students and researchers.

I hope everyone discusses the very important limitations of impact factors, and ISI data in general, whenever they come up. In some disciplines they may be very good, but in others, they're extremely limited. I think it's especially important not to compare across disciplines.

I worry that the push in academia in general to be more 'data driven,' and ISI's excellence in marketing, means that these data and derived figures will be misused or over-emphasized. So as part of our role as librarians I think we need to very clearly present critiques of the data, as well as the advantages.

Kris' article is an excellent contribution to better our understanding; thanks for sharing it!

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This page contains a single entry by Jon Jeffryes published on October 12, 2010 12:09 PM.

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