One more negative review of ISI’s impact factors (Show me the data — Rossner et al. 179 (6): 1091 — The Journal of Cell Biology) is not going to bring their use to an end. If that were the case, they already would be banished from our campuses. However, it’s difficult to dislodge a tool that is widely accepted and easy to apply, especially when you have no strong alternative to offer in its place.
I don’t know if there’s a better way to measure impact. To the extent that I’ve been involved in evaluating projects of various sorts, I know how difficult it is to capture and quantify evidence of “making a difference.” Nonetheless, deans, provosts, and granting agencies all want to be shown the value of the work they have funded. What can we as librarians and knowledge managers offer when we are asked for help in demonstrating value?
Thanks to my colleague Ken Varnum who brought this article to my attention.