The Impact Factor Fallacy

Frontiers in Psychology 9:324900 (2018)
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The use of the journal impact factor (JIF) as a measure for the quality of individual manuscripts and the merits of scientists has faced significant criticism in recent years. We add to the current criticism in arguing that such an application of the JIF in policy and decision making in academia is based on false beliefs and unwarranted inferences. To approach the problem, we use principles of deductive and inductive reasoning to illustrate the fallacies that are inherent to using journal based metrics for evaluating the work of scientists. In doing so, we elaborate that if we judge scientific quality based on the JIF or other journal based metrics we are either guided by invalid or weak arguments or in fact consider our uncertainty about the quality of the work and not the quality itself.



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