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Evaluating Research Activity:Impact Factor vs. Research Factor


  • Silvia Ferrini


  • Marco P. Tucci



The Impact Factor (IF) “has moved ... 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” ([2], p. 1). However, the use of this index for evaluating individual scientists is dubious. The present work compares the ranking of research units generated by the Research Factor (RF) index with that associated with the popular IF. The former, originally introduced in [38], reflects article and book publications and a host of other activities categorized as coordination activities (e.g., conference organization, research group coordination), dissemination activities (e.g., conference and seminar presentations, participation in research group), editorial activities (e.g., journal editor, associate editor, referee) and functional activities (e.g., Head of Department). 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Silvia Ferrini & Marco P. Tucci, 2011. "Evaluating Research Activity:Impact Factor vs. Research Factor," Department of Economics University of Siena 614, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
  • Handle: RePEc:usi:wpaper:614

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    1. Martin Davies & Joe Hirschberg & Jenny Lye & Carol Johnston & Ian Mcdonald, 2007. "Systematic Influences On Teaching Evaluations: The Case For Caution ," Australian Economic Papers, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(1), pages 18-38, March.
    2. Andrew J. Oswald, 2007. "An Examination of the Reliability of Prestigious Scholarly Journals: Evidence and Implications for Decision-Makers," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 74(293), pages 21-31, February.
    3. Phillips, Peter C.B., 1985. "Professor J. D. Sargan," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(01), pages 119-139, April.
    4. Cooley, Thomas F & Prescott, Edward C, 1976. "Estimation in the Presence of Stochastic Parameter Variation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(1), pages 167-184, January.
    5. Michael Bräuninger & Justus Haucap, 2003. "Reputation and Relevance of Economics Journals," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(2), pages 175-197, May.
    6. Stigler, George J & Stigler, Stephen M & Friedland, Claire, 1995. "The Journals of Economics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(2), pages 331-359, April.
    7. Tom Coupé, 2003. "Revealed Performances: Worldwide Rankings of Economists and Economics Departments, 1990-2000," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(6), pages 1309-1345, December.
    8. Marco p. Tucci & Sandra Fontani & Silvia Ferrini, 2008. "L’ “R-Factor”: un nuovo modo di valutare la ricerca scientifica," Department of Economics University of Siena 527, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
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    More about this item


    scientific research assessment; Impact Factor; bibliometric indices; feasible Research Factor;

    JEL classification:

    • A11 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Role of Economics; Role of Economists
    • A12 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines

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