The noted informatics authority, Eugene Garfield (1925-2017), while working at the Johns Hopkins Medical Library, decided to assist medical librarians in selecting the publications to which they should subscribe. Not only at issue was the expense of subscribing and binding the periodicals, but there was also the physical space for shelving them. This was the birth of the Science Citation Index (SCI), the Impact Factor (IF), and the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI)in Philidelphia.
The role of the SCI has expanded over the years. Libraries may still continue to select journals on the basis of their IF, with many institutions subscribing to their periodicals digitally or by group selection from the publishers’ packages. What was never anticipated, however, is the importance given to the IF, not only by libraries, but also by readers and even academia. Unfortunately, this has produced some untoward and even bizarre results.
Parish, Lawrence Charles and Lambert, W Clark, "Dermatology Journals and the Impact Factor" (2020). Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Biology Faculty Papers. Paper 139.
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