'Hit' parade: editor's rallying impact anthem

July 28, 2011

The rise of journal impact factors has provoked many inarticulate rants from researchers and editors about the folly of trying to measure research quality numerically.

But Peter Tyrer, editor of The British Journal of Psychiatry, has responded to the latest rise in his journal's impact factor with a song.

In an email sent to the Sigmetrics email discussion group, the professor of community psychiatry at Imperial College London says that his journal has seen its impact factor rise to almost six in the 2010 edition of Thomson Reuters' Journal Citation Report, representing a 44 per cent rise since 2001.

Impact factors are a measure of the average number of citations garnered by papers published in a particular journal during the previous two years.

"Despite our best intentions, we are all in the impact factory together, (so) perhaps we need to have a BJP song we could sing to our potential contributors," he writes.

Professor Tyrer's ditty is below.

paul.jump@tsleducation.com

The Impact Factory song

There comes a time of year
Which for some yields joy and cheer
Whereas for others it brings gloom
And impending signs of doom
I refer to the end of June
It's the Impact Factor tune
Which we dance to tho' we fear
Its strains may cost us dear
In promoting our alliance
'Tween scholarship and science
And sometimes in defiance
We reject our weak reliance
On the star by which we steer
With each number-crunching tear.

But we have to play the game
As our authors will turn to blame
If we fail them in our quest
To be better than all the rest
Now's the time to attest
In the BJP you must invest
And fan our impact factor flame
By seeing papers you can claim
Really are the best
And once published and assessed
All will be impressed
'Cross East, North, South and West
Let the world then bold proclaim
Each author's new-found fame.

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