It is important to access the scientific credibility of a research paper, and the journal impact factor is an important criteria. But we may find diverse, and contrast opinions on this from senior academicians, and researchers who insist that it is nothing other than a measure of the prestige of the journal. It surely is a very controversial topic of discussion for the entire research community. We definitely know that the impact factor does not have any role in deciding the importance and value of a research paper, but undoubtedly it has an influence on the researcher’s future career prospects.
The decision regarding the impact factor of the journals is done by Thompson Reuters. The preliminary reason for assigning the impact factors was for the help to the librarians. It was intended that it would help the librarians to make decisions regarding the purchase of the journals. Gradually people started to look at it is a means to decide the scientific worth of a document. But this as a tool of assessment has to have many deficiencies and hence see so many debates building up on this issue, amongst the fraternity. The key reasons over which they debate are:
- It is an absolute degradation and misuse of a metric measure such as the impact factor, if it is used for the purpose of promotions and funding objectives
- The research should be given the weightage and importance to get evaluated on the basis of its quality standards. It should be distinct from the impact factor of the journal
- There should further more parameters discovered to assess the impact and significance of the paper as these days, the online journals offer a lot of flexibility to the researchers regarding the usage of words, references , graphs etc.
Though all this criticism is valid, there is lot of belief in the impact factor concept around the world and is still used as a means to analyse the prestige of a research scientist. This is the reason that, Open Access Publishing is losing its charm day by day, and the scientific community is struggling with the benchmarks against which the value of the scholars and their research can be measured. The solution to this needs to be explored and dug out from research itself and there is some introspection from the scientific community required in this end, urgently.