Initiative to put an end to the misuse of the journal impact factor (JIP)


Major European science organisations have joined the "San Francisco Declaration On Research Assessment" which was released today by the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB). Signatories in Europe include the European Mathematical Society, EUCheMS, European Sociology Association, European Education Research Association, FEBS, EMBO and other societies and organizations that are organized under the umbrella of the Initiative for Science in Europe (ISE).

The increasing reliance on journal based metrics for research assessment, hiring, promotion or funding decisions has been criticized by experts for a number of years. The "San Francisco Declaration On Research Assessment" for the first time unites researchers, journals, institutions and funders to address the problems of an overreliance on the journal impact factor and to work for change of the current system of research assessment.

The declaration formulates concrete recommendations for different stakeholder groups. It calls publishers to "greatly reduce emphasis on the journal impact factor as a promotional tool", funding agencies and institutions to consider "the value and impact of all research outputs" for purpose of research assessment, "including qualitative indicators of research impact" and researchers to make "decisions about funding, hiring, tenure, or promotion, [..] based on scientific content rather than publication metrics" when involved in assessment committees. It also invites organisations that supply metrics to "[b]e open and transparent by providing data and methods used to calculate all metrics".

The San Francisco Declaration On Research Assessment was drafted by a group of editors and publishers of scholarly journals that met at the Annual Meeting of The American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) in San Francisco in December 2012. It has since developed into a worldwide initiative welcoming all scientific disciplines including the social sciences and humanities.

Scientists and institutions alike are invited to express their commitment and support for the initiative at =http://ascb.org/SFdeclaration.html