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The murky world of journal impact factors

As the Research Excellence Framework edges nearer, concerns are circulating that universities rely heavily on journal rankings and impact factors when selecting the research they plan to submit for assessment. Miriam Frankel investigates.

Claims that university managers and department heads are using journal impact factors or rankings when selecting outputs for research assessment are notoriously hard to prove. But in the last few weeks, Research Fortnight has heard plenty of anecdotal evidence of such practices.

Even though the Higher Education Funding Council for England states that REF reviewers will not use impact factors in their assessments, it is apparent that these metrics continue to influence decisions along the way.

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