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Invidious comparisons based on IF are a source of concern for the health of the APS journals, which are rightly a pride of our discipline . HIFS is the practice of using number of publications in HIF journals as a proxy for assessing research accomplishment or potential.
You see the general manager approaching with a frown on his face, and..alarm goes off.
Shaking off the nightmare, you chuckle to yourself that no pitching scout would use a single measure of performance when many skills enter into effective pitching, and even if he did, it would never occur to him to evaluate an individual pitcher in terms of the average strength of the pitching staff the pitcher belongs to.
Surely, it is said, if the department needs publications in HIF journals for its own assessment, it should hire and value most highly those people who have demonstrated the capacity to produce those publications.
As science becomes broader and researchers more specialized, we all become less equipped to assess the contributions of our colleagues, and this increases the temptation to adopt a shorthand proxy like HIFS.
Some journals publish a mix of article types, including primary research articles, reviews, and semi-technical summaries.
Comparing a physics journal to one that publishes in all disciplines or comparing a journal that publishes primary research articles with one that publishes a mix of article types is the proverbial apples and oranges.For a given journal, IF (five-year IF) is the average annual citation rate for papers that are on average 1.5 (3) years old.The Table, taken from the 2013 Journal Citation Reports, gives 2013 IFs and five-year IFs for several journals of interest to physicists, along with a few other journals for comparison. Journals of record, which seek to publish all significant research in a discipline, are quite different from magazines that cherry-pick what their editors consider to be the most important or most significant articles in all of science or in a particular discipline.For many readers, therefore, this article might be a wake-up call; if so, keep in mind that your colleagues elsewhere and in other disciplines might already have severe cases.Moreover, most physicists I talk to have at least a mild form of the disease. Suppose you want the 2013 IF for : Take all the papers published in PRL in 20; the standard (two-year) 2013 IF is the average number of citations accumulated by these papers in 2013, in a list of "indexed journals" maintained by Thomson Reuters.Publications in HIF journals are then weighted more heavily than other papers because these papers have more potential for substantial impact, as measured, for example, by future citations.HIF thus emerges as a mildly informative tool for assessment of departments and larger entities, although those in charge of these assessments often misread "mildly informative" as "wildly informative." With HIF accepted as an objective component of unit-wide assessments, it is only a short step to applying it to individuals.Its Web of Science indexes over 8,000 science and technology journals and issues an annual report, called the Journal Citation Reports (JCR), which lists IFs and other measures of journal impact.In particular, you will also see five-year IFs, which are computed using a time horizon of five years instead of the two years for standard IF.You are surprised to find that you have been tasked with evaluating minor-league pitchers eager to get into major-league baseball.You interview applicants, collect information, and observe their performance.