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J Gerontol Nurs. 2007 Jun;33(6):3-4.

Rethinking the meaning and significance of journal impact factors.


It is not the case that impact factors are unhelpful and that their use should be abolished. Indeed, ISI is continuing to refine existing and develop new databases to provide important information to researchers, administrators, librarians, and editors. Impact factor data do provide useful information for the review process if used judiciously and with an awareness of what these data do and do not indicate. Perhaps it is timely for members of the nursing discipline to think more broadly about the nature of impact and to talk more about the ways in which review processes can account for the many ways the impact of research can be demonstrated. For example, as part of the review process, reviewers might ask each researcher to provide exemplars from teaching or clinical practice settings in which their research is actually being used. Researchers might also be asked to describe the impact that has occurred in ways other than through publication (e.g., presentations, consulting) and how this impact was determined. Creating review processes that allow researchers to describe their decision making related to disseminating their research and how this reflects their ability to influence the discipline may provide a more realistic picture of impact than calculated figures alone.

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