The frenzy about simple publication metrics

From this editorial in ACS Nano (hat tip to my colleague A S Panwar for the pointer):

There is a tremendous frenzy about the simple publication metrics among scientists of all calibers. Take, for instance, the h-index, which is a great reflection on how our community behaves. Discussion of new faculty candidates necessarily involves someone bringing up the h-index of the person in question. I have known academic researchers who track the h-indices of their friends, making diagrams similar to those of the stock market. Another colleague of mine takes every opportunity to mention that the h-index depends strongly on the field. There are also examples of scientists who advertise their h-index on the front page of their web site. These tendencies have been noted and satirized in a recent Editorial in our sister journal, ACS Chemical Biology, pointing out multiple ways to increase one’s h-index artificially. Such manipulations are nothing more than another form of scientific misconduct and fraud and are caused by overwhelming attention to this index.

Overall, the more simplified and metric-driven the evaluation of scientific work becomes, the more susceptible science will be to deceit and petty tricks.

Take a look!


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