Editors’ JIF-boosting stratagems – which are appropriate and which not?

Martin, Ben (2016) Editors’ JIF-boosting stratagems – which are appropriate and which not? Research Policy, 45 (1). pp. 1-7. ISSN 0048-7333

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This extended editorial explores the growing range of stratagems devised by journal editors to boost their Journal Impact Factor (JIF) and the consequences for the credibility of this indicator as well as for the academic community more broadly. Over recent years, JIF has become the most prominent indicator of a journal’s standing, bringing intense pressure on journal editors to do what they can to increase it. After explaining the curious way in which JIF is calculated and the technical limitations that beset it, we examine the approaches employed by journal editors to maximise it. Some approaches would seem completely acceptable, others (such as coercive citations and cross-citing journal cartels) are in clear breach of the conventions on academic behaviour, but a number fall somewhere in between. Over time, editors have devised ingenious ways of enhancing their JIF without apparently breaching any rules. In particular, the editorial describes the ‘online queue’ stratagem and asks whether this constitutes appropriate behaviour or not. The editorial draws three conclusions. First, in the light of ever more devious ruses of editors, the JIF indicator has now lost most of its credibility. Secondly, where the rules are unclear or absent, the only way of determining whether particular editorial behaviour is appropriate or not is to expose it to public scrutiny. Thirdly, editors who engage in dubious behaviour thereby risk forfeiting their authority to police misconduct among authors.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: University of Sussex Business School > SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Depositing User: Ben Martin
Date Deposited: 04 Dec 2015 15:14
Last Modified: 01 Jul 2019 17:45
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/58667

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