Friday, March 21, 2014
#Wikipedia and the impact factor of #Nature magazine
As Nature has a Wikipedia article, it has a #Wikidata item. It can be presented in Reasonator and as my friend John has an interest for scientific publications, he had a look at it.
He made several comments, one of them was that there were many more statements to make. We added thinks like the publisher, a few external sources and the impact factor. It was 38.597 for Nature in 2012.
There is a problem with the impact factor. Thomson Scientific, the company that fabricates this number, has the tendency to deny others to use the impact factor. To quote from the "properties for deletion" page on Wikidata: "Thomson Scientific Inc. remind academics and universities that they do not permit any republication or re-use of their Impact Factor lists".
When Thompson Scientific does not want its impact factor on Wikipedia, it has the opportunity to say so. It has not done this for many years. When it does, the impact factor will be removed and, another more nuanced factor will be found to qualify the relative merit of publications, authors and papers. The proposal for deletion has it that it is "derived from a curated dataset (not all journals are included), it involves subjective decisions (which papers are citable and valid citations), the creators of it do apply their own non-automated adjustments".
I am sure that when Thompson Scientific does decide to send a cease and desist letter to the Wikimedia Foundation, many people will remember this famous American who also went to court.