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Brace for Impact! DORA Initiative Argues the Usage of the Journal Impact Factor

By Katelyn Hoover on Mar 2, 2020

Determining the credibility of academic publishing venues comes with various challenges, one of which is the assigning and interpretation of research evaluation. Specifically, evaluations such as the Journal Impact Factors have been criticized for inaccurately rating the value of research in various fields of study. One of the major concerns posited by researchers is that hiring committees and funding bodies have been purported to be influences in their decision making by these highly criticized metrics. Also, the Journal Impact Factor does not cater to newer journals (established for less than two years) or journals on niche up-and-coming subject matter, and as such they disregard an entire branch of critical resources.

Journal Impact Factors are meant to serve as a broad indicator of a specific journal’s output and are not meant to be used as a quality indicator of individual papers and authors. However, this is not the most common use of the Journal Impact Factors. Many mistakenly evaluate papers by the Impact Factor of the journal that they appear in (Callaway, 2016).

Due to these misinterpretations, many researchers have begun to question the validity of evaluative measures like the Journal Impact Factor. Some publishers and universities have even taken this skepticism a step further by removing the Journal Impact Factor from their journals and websites completely.

One initiative, developed by the American Society for Cell Biology in San Francisco, hopes to evaluate and improve the evaluative strategies used for providing information on the quality of academic research output. The Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) aims to influence change in the academic community that will encourage the use of tools and strategies that more accurately reflect the quality and reach of various research (DORA Roadmap: A two-year strategic plan for advancing global research assessment reform at the institutional, national, and funder level, 2018).

The goal of the DORA initiative, and other similar movements, is to provide a more accurate metric that serves to evaluate the merits of individual research papers rather than evaluating them based on the overall quality and reach of the publication that they appear in. In this way, signers and proponents of these movements hope to more accurately reflect the efforts of individual researchers and the quality of individual articles and research outputs.

Metrics that intend to make sweeping statements about large sections of research should be regarded with caution. While they can indicate the overall quality or output of a single large publication, they do not serve as accurate indicators of the quality or output of smaller publications. Current metrics that are applied widely to larger publications should be regarded with caution when researchers are attempting to evaluate the quality of individual research articles or individual researchers.

Individuals, institutions, organizations, and publishers may all sign the DORA initiative. If you would like to sign, you can do so through the Sign the Declaration page.

IGI Global works to maximize the discoverability of each and every chapter and article published, regardless of how niche its topic is or how small the intended audience may be. If you would like to publish your work with a publisher that believes the quality and merit of research should be based on the individual research itself, please see IGI Global's Publications Seeking Submissions page.

References

(n.d.). Retrieved from DORA- San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) : https://sfdora.org/

Callaway, E. (2016, July 08). Beat it, impact factor! Publishing elite turns against controversial metric. Nature.

DORA Roadmap: A two-year strategic plan for advancing global research assessment reform at the institutional, national, and funder level. (2018, June 27). Retrieved from Dora- San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA): https://sfdora.org/2018/06/27/dora-roadmap-a-two-year-strategic-plan-for-advancing-global-research-assessment-reform-at-the-institutional-national-and-funder-level/

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