Interesting article on impact – something that’s touted around a lot in HE. How is it measurable? Try this article:

It is believed by the helots of the Department for Business, Industry and Skills that, like everything else in the world, impact is measurable by number. So if you are four-star REFable in, say, medical studies, then to appear in The Lancet is the measure of fame, and the journal is so canonised because everybody cites it; contributors, moreover, cite themselves, and the consequent citation index gives The Lancet a score of 33.63, whereas Medical Teacher, an honoured journal much favoured by GPs, struggles along, starved of citation, at 1.494. It is relevant to add that The Lancet score rocketed upwards in terms of its citations when, in a picturesque example, it published in good faith research claiming to discover a causal link between autism and MMR injections in babyhood. Numberless citations in repudiation of certainly unmethodical and probably dishonest work contributed largely to the journal’s lordly score.

That, as Thomas Kuhn showed us so conclusively 50 years ago, is how science revolves, sticking grimly to old beliefs and methods until at last the weight of new evidence finally upsets the applecart and everyone pretends they knew what was coming all along.

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