Tim Birkhead again provides witty and insightful comments on how the corporate culture is destroying universities (Working Knowledge, January 12). Of particular resonance is his criticism of the use of journal impact factors in the upcoming research assessment exercise.
My colleagues and I recently proved that viable microbes exist high in the stratosphere. We published this in the appropriate international peer-reviewed journals only to find that these have low-impact factors. Of course, we should have shopped around, but we are simple academics, not cynical systems manipulators. The published work is novel and potentially important, but being of too low a quality (so-called impact) it will not feature in the RAE jamboree.
Can someone tell us the name of the philistine who suggested the use of this bogus metric to determine research quality?