HEFCE proposals for new Research Excellence Framework (continued)

Added by Stephane Goldstein on 20 December 2007 19:44

Post-scriptum to my earlier blog on the proposed Research Excellence Framework (REF), regarding the use of Thomson Scientific impact factor data as its principal quantitative measure of research quality.  In its consultation document, HEFCE suggests that, according to advice it has received, Thomson Scientific Web of Science is the most reliable, all-round source of such data.

An editorial published earlier this week in the Journal of Cell Biology takes a somewhat different view.  The editorial, signed by the Executive Directors of the Journal of Cell Biology, the Journal of Experimental Medicine and the Rockefeller University Press, argues that over-reliance on that single indicator would be dangerous and raises questions about the underlying validity of the data used by Thomson Scientific to calculate impact factors and therefore the accuracy of the  metrics that are published.

­This is well worth a read to help reflect on a fundamental assumption of the REF.

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