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Chasing Impact Factors, or Making an Impact on Technology? [From the Editor]

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1 Author(s)

As an editor-in-chief, the author receives many e-mails on the impact factor of various journals so he looked up the "new" impact factor for IEEE Control Systems Magazine (CSM). While its 2011 impact factor is high for a control publication, the value of this metric is unclear. Many people quantify the quality of a journal in terms of this metric, although it is well known that the impact factor metric can be highly misleading. He feels the main problem is not the metric per se, but that the metric is stated as a measure of the quality of the journal. The author maintains that there is no aspect of the calculation of the impact factor that is a measure of quality. While it could be argued that the measure of the number of times that an article has been cited is a measure of popularity, our everyday experience is that popularity is not necessarily correlated with quality. He concludes that, all other things being equal, he would prefer an article that makes a positive impact on technology and society that lowers the associated journal's impact factor than a paper that raises a journal's impact factor but makes no positive longterm impact.

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Control Systems, IEEE  (Volume:32 ,  Issue: 6 )