The weakening relationship between the Impact Factor and papers’ citations in the digital age

Authors : George A. Lozano, Vincent Lariviere, Yves Gingras

Historically, papers have been physically bound to the journal in which they were published but in the electronic age papers are available individually, no longer tied to their respective journals. Hence, papers now can be read and cited based on their own merits, independently of the journal’s physical availability, reputation, or Impact Factor.

We compare the strength of the relationship between journals’ Impact Factors and the actual citations received by their respective papers from 1902 to 2009. Throughout most of the 20th century, papers’ citation rates were increasingly linked to their respective journals’ Impact Factors.

However, since 1990, the advent of the digital age, the strength of the relation between Impact Factors and paper citations has been decreasing. This decrease began sooner in physics, a field that was quicker to make the transition into the electronic domain.

Furthermore, since 1990, the proportion of highly cited papers coming from highly cited journals has been decreasing, and accordingly, the proportion of highly cited papers not coming from highly cited journals has also been increasing.

Should this pattern continue, it might bring an end to the use of the Impact Factor as a way to evaluate the quality of journals, papers and researchers.”


Breaking the barriers of time and space the…

Breaking the barriers of time and space: the dawning of the great age of librarians :

Purpose: This lecture, reflecting on future roles, posits the potential dawning of a “great age of librarians,” if librarians make the conceptual shift of focusing on their own skills and activities rather than on their libraries.

Discussion: In the digital age, physical libraries are becoming less relevant to the communities that they serve. Librarians, however, are more necessary than ever in helping members of their communities navigate the increasingly complex information space. To meet their social responsibilities requires that librarians seek new roles and recognize that their most important activities will take place outside of the physical library.

Conclusion: A great age of librarians is possible, but not guaranteed. We are at the very beginning of the development of a digital culture that parallels the print culture that has been dominant for five hundred years. Innovative and creative librarians have the potential to shape the development of that culture in ways that will truly serve the needs of their communities.”


Imagining a University Press System to Support Scholarship in the Digital Age

Author : Clifford Lynch

I outline a possible future system of many distributed university presses mainly focused on the editorial production of scholarly monographs, supported by a very small number of digital platforms for managing and delivering these monographs as a database rather than transactionally to academic and research libraries. I also touch on the ongoing evolution of various types of scholarly books into (often much more costly) networked information resources and the implications this has for the overall dissemination of scholarship and the roles of university presses.