As a young scientist whose career will be affected by the use, misuse, or disregard of impact factors, I am put off daily by the scrolling banner at the top of the Journal of the American Chemical Society (or any other ACS journal) that boasts an impact factor for 2012 of 10.677. I challenge ACS, as one of the world’s leading scientific organizations, to be more scientific.
I suspect there is no practical meaning to the third, fourth, or fifth significant figure in the impact factor 10.677. Is there a statistic (that is, standard error or effect size) given to indicate that this incredibly precise value is interpretably different from another journal’s value, the previous year’s value for JACS, or 10.678? Next, the editors of two ACS journals have admirably taken the lead in increasing the integrity of work published in ACS journals (C&EN, June 24, page 32). I would challenge ACS publishing to be a leader and discontinue the advertisement of impact factors, a contested metric (Science 2013, DOI: 10.1126/science.1240319 and DOI: 10.1126/science.1240456), on journal homepages.
Joseph J. Topczewski