Much has been said about the increasing bureaucracy in science, stifling innovation, hampering the creativity of researchers and incentivizing misconduct, even outright fraud. Many anecdotes have been recounted, observations described and conclusions drawn about the negative impact of impact assessment on scientists and science. However, few of these accounts have drawn their conclusions from data, and those that have typically relied on a few studies. In this review, we present the most recent and pertinent data on the consequences that our current scholarly communication system has had on various measures of scientific quality (such as utility/citations, methodological soundness, expert ratings and retractions). These data confirm previous suspicions: using journal rank as an assessment tool is bad scientific practice. Moreover, the data lead us to argue that any journal rank (not only the currently-favored Impact Factor) would have this negative impact. Therefore, we suggest that abandoning journals altogether, in favor of a library-based scholarly communication system, will ultimately be necessary. This new system will use modern information technology to vastly improve the filter, sort and discovery function of the current journal system.
|Comments:||5244 words, 120 references, one figure, one table and one supplemental figure (the raw data for table 1)|
|Subjects:||Digital Libraries (cs.DL); Physics and Society (physics.soc-ph); Other Statistics (stat.OT)|
|Cite as:||arXiv:1301.3748 [cs.DL]|
(or arXiv:1301.3748v1 [cs.DL] for this version)