An assessment of the predictive validity of impact factor scores: Implications for academic employment decisions in social work

Gary Holden, Gary Rosenberg, Kathleen Barker, Patrick Onghena

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objective: Bibliometrics is a method of examining scholarly communications. Concerns regarding the use of bibliometrics in general, and the impact factor score (IFS) in particular, have been discussed across disciplines including social work. Although there are frequent mentions in the literature of the IFS as an indicator of the impact or quality of scholars' work, little empirical work has been published regarding the validity of such use. Method: A proportionate, stratified, random sample, of n=323 articles was selected from 17 Web of Science listed social work journals published during the 1992 to 1994 period. Results: The relationship between journals'IFSs and the actual impact of articles published in those journals (predictive validity) was r=.41 (short term) and r =.42 (long term).Conclusion: The practice of using the IFS as a proxy indicator of article impact merits significant concern as well as further empirical investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)613-624
Number of pages12
JournalResearch on Social Work Practice
Volume16
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2006

Keywords

  • Career development
  • Citation analysis
  • Decision making
  • Educational personnel
  • Faculty
  • Higher education
  • Hiring
  • Impact factor scores
  • Occupational tenure
  • Personnel promotion
  • Personnel selection
  • Reappointment
  • Scientific communication
  • Teacher tenure
  • Validity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Psychology(all)

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