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.

University of New Mexico
Department of Physics and Astronomy
1919 Lomas Blvd. NE
Albuquerque NM 87131-0001
505-277-1520 fax