Monday, April 4, 2016

Impact factors and citation analysis

I was talking with a college administrator at a conference this weekend and the discussion turned to measuring research quality. While I don't think they are totally useless I do believe that, like student evaluations of instruction, citation analysis of scientific research is largely a popularity contest.

I want the truth of a scientific idea to be measured by its agreement with observation and experiment. I don't believe science is democratic.  Human opinion can not be the deciding factor.

What about the most difficult of fields where only a handful of people are even capable of understanding the concepts involved? (Feynman said that nobody understands quantum mechanics.) There won't be many papers to cite or readers to have read them. Popular is not the same as good.

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