News from the Chair

Long Wavelength Array
Carlton M. Caves
Distinguished Professor
Director, Center for Quantum Information and Control

High-Impact Factor Syndrome

Professor Caves has written an opinion piece for the American Physical Society's newsletter (APSNews) about what he calls high-impact-factor syndrome (HIFS), which is the practice of judging the research accomplishments and impact of individuals and institutions by the number of papers published in journals with a high impact factor (HIF).

The HIF journals most relevant to physicists are Science, Nature, and Nature Physics; bioscientists add Cell to that list. Asked to explain his interest in HIFS, Professor Caves responded,

"As I have traveled around the world in recent years, I have noticed an increasing trend among scientists to choose research topics based on what can get published in the HIF journals and a tendency among junior scientists to think they can only get a job if they have published papers in HIF journals. I spoke out about this at a panel I chaired at the Annual Meeting of APS's Division of Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics last June and was invited to write a Back Page article for APSNews. The result is my hopefully informed opinion about how HIFS got started and what might be done about it."

Read the article here.

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