Paleonet: Updated list of paleontological journals with the most recent impact factors

Ross Mounce rcpm20 at
Mon Jul 9 04:44:37 UTC 2012

Hi Kenneth, (and PaleoNet)

I really like your list of journals - it's a great resource for the 

But Thomson Reuters' Impact Factor is a _really_ bad statistic and I 
don't think you should be displaying it. The trouble is, it encourages 
the unhealthy obsession with journal ranking (based upon IF). Not to 
mention all its many other, well documented problems.

This has all been said before by others, notably Bjorn Brembs in recent 
times e.g. his post here: 

but for the TL;DR generation, the IF:

* is negotiable and doesn't reflect actual citation counts
* cannot be reproduced, even if it reflected actual citations
* is not statistically sound, even if it were reproducible and reflected 
actual citations
* correlates better with retractions than citations(!)
* is getting progressively worse as an indicator of citations 
* emphasises an average of the journal as a 'brand' over quality of 
scientific content in individual articles (which is what we really 
should be focusing on)
* the IF for Acta Crystallographica Section A in 2009 & 2010 alone 
speaks volumes...
* and more...

Articles are the units of scientific publication. These are the things 
that should (and can) be judged, with article-level metrics, altmetrics 
and such.  If we value science on *where* something is published rather 
than the scientific *content* of that article, that's clearly not going 
to be good in the long term, right?

University & government science administrators (here in the UK at least) 
are also slowly realising the mistakes of the past in overemphasising 
journal impact factor in assessments. So, I'm not going to listen to any 
"...but the REF/RAE requires..." arguments - this *will* change in 
future assessment exercises. The more as academics we pander to, and 
uphold the Impact Factor by displaying it and talking about it as if it 
was relevant, the longer it (and it's negative effects) will be with us. 
So, IMO I *really* think you shouldn't post journal Impact Factor stats, 
particularly in a sorted & ranked way -- it encourages inappropriate and 
unsound comparisons between journals.

But hey, it's your website :)

I'm very happy to discuss this further if anyone wants to, either ON or 
offlist. This matter *does* very much pertain to palaeontology (as with 
all other areas of scholarship), and thus I do think it is important to 



Selected References & Links:

Eds. 2006. The impact factor game: It is time to find a better way to 
assess the scientific literature? PLoS Med 3:e291+

Lozano, G. A., Lariviere, V., and Gingras, Y. 2012. The weakening 
relationship between the impact factor and papers' citations in the 
digital age.

Metze, K. 2010. Bureaucrats, researchers, editors, and the impact 
factor: a vicious circle that is detrimental to science. Clinics. 65(10)

Seglen, P. O. 1997. Why the impact factor of journals should not be used 
for evaluating research. BMJ 314:497

Ross Mounce
PhD Student & Panton Fellow
Fossils, Phylogeny and Macroevolution Research Group
University of Bath
4 South Building, Lab 1.07

On 08/07/12 22:18, Kenneth De Baets wrote:
> Hi paleonetters,
> I just updated my list of paleontological journals on my website with 
> the new 2011 impact factors:
> My apologies for sending this to everybody, but I thought it might be 
> of interest to many of you.
> Please sent any remarks or suggestions directly to me.
> Best regards,
> Kenneth
> -- 
> Dr. Kenneth De Baets
> SNF Fellow
> School of Earth Sciences
> University of Bristol
> Wills Memorial Building
> Queen's Road
> United Kingdom
> kenneth.debaets[at] <>
> +44 (0)117 331 5239 <tel:%2B44%20%280%29117%209545644>
> _______________________________________________
> Paleonet mailing list
> Paleonet at

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