L’ “R-Factor”: un nuovo modo di valutare la ricerca scientifica
As pointed out in Amin e Mabe (2000, p. 1), the journal impact factor (IF) “has moved in recent years from an obscure bibliometric indicator to become the chief quantitative measure of the quality of a journal, its research papers, the researchers who wrote those papers, and even the institution they work in.” However, the use of this index for evaluating individual scientists is dubious and may “skew the course of scientific research” (Monastersky, 2005, p, 1). Moreover the IF is, at most, able to measure only the quality of a very restricted range of research activities: namely, publishing journal articles. In the present work a new indicator of a researcher quality, named the Researcher Impact Factor (RF), is introduced. It is constructed as a function of the number and quality of publications (articles, books and working papers) and of the “other activities” usually associated with being a researcher (attending and/or organizing conferences, being the Editor, Associate Editor or referee for a journal, teaching or supervising at graduate level, coordinating research groups and so on). To show the characteristics of the new index, a numerical example is carried out to rank two hypothetical scientists. The main conclusion is that by replacing the IF with the RF in hiring, tenure decisions and awarding of grants would greatly increase the number of topics investigated and the number and quality of long run projects. The Excel spreadsheet used for the computations is available on demand from the authors.
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