Altmetric score 871.936

Research area: scientific_communication

A simple proposal for the publication of journal citation distributions


Created on 5th July 2016

Vincent Lariviere; Veronique Kiermer; Catriona J MacCallum; Marcia McNutt; Mark Patterson; Bernd Pulverer; Sowmya Swaminathan; Stuart Taylor; Stephen Curry;


Although the Journal Impact Factor (JIF) is widely acknowledged to be a poor indicator of the quality of individual papers, it is used routinely to evaluate research and researchers. Here, we present a simple method for generating the citation distributions that underlie JIFs. Application of this straightforward protocol reveals the full extent of the skew of distributions and variation in citations received by published papers that is characteristic of all scientific journals. Although there are differences among journals across the spectrum of JIFs, the citation distributions overlap extensively, demonstrating that the citation performance of individual papers cannot be inferred from the JIF. We propose that this methodology be adopted by all journals as a move to greater transparency, one that should help to refocus attention on individual pieces of work and counter the inappropriate usage of JIFs during the process of research assessment.

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Review Summary

# Status Date
Richard Malham Completed 8 Jul 2016 View review
Hamed Seyed-allaei Completed 8 Jul 2016 View review
David Colquhoun Completed 9 Jul 2016 View review
Ludo Waltman Completed 11 Jul 2016 View review
Adam Eyre-Walker Completed 15 Jul 2016 View review
John Sack Completed 17 Jul 2016 View review