Counting on citations: a flawed way to measure quality

Garry Walter, Karen Fisher, Sidney Bloch and Glenn Hunt
Med J Aust 2003; 178 (6): . || doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2003.tb05196.x
Published online: 17 March 2003

The journal Impact Factor and citation counts are misconstrued and misused as measures of scientific quality. Articles must be read in order to judge their quality. We have introduced a system, which may be easily replicated, to identify the best articles published in a journal.

Gloom or glee? Each September, journal editors and publishers anxiously await news of a particular figure from the Institute of Scientific Information (ISI) in Philadelphia, USA. The figure's value is promptly met with despair or delight. We are referring, of course, to the Impact Factor (IF) and the ritual surrounding its release that has come to dominate the editors' and publishers' calendar.

  • 1 Rivendell Unit, Child Adolescent and Family Psychiatric Services, Thomas Walker Hospital, Concord West, NSW.
  • 2 Department of Psychiatry, University of Melbourne, Fitzroy, VIC.
  • 3 Department of Psychological Medicine, Research Unit, Rozelle Hospital, Rozelle, NSW.


Competing interests:

None identified.

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