I’ve been remiss in not mentioning & linking to the “San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment“, which declares (in part):
The outputs from scientific research are many and varied, including: research articles reporting new knowledge, data, reagents, and software; intellectual property; and highly trained young scientists. Funding agencies, institutions that employ scientists, and scientists themselves, all have a desire, and need, to assess the quality and impact of scientific outputs. It is thus imperative that scientific output is measured accurately and evaluated wisely.
The Journal Impact Factor is frequently used as the primary parameter with which to compare the scientific output of individuals and institutions. The Journal Impact Factor, as calculated by Thomson Reuters, was originally created as a tool to help librarians identify journals to purchase, not as a measure of the scientific quality of research in an article. With that in mind, it is critical to understand that the Journal Impact Factor has a number of well-documented deficiencies as a tool for research assessment. These limitations include: A) citation distributions within journals are highly skewed [1–3]; B) the properties of the Journal Impact Factor are field-specific: it is a composite of multiple, highly diverse article types, including primary research papers and reviews [1, 4]; C) Journal Impact Factors can be manipulated (or “gamed”) by editorial policy ; and D) data used to calculate the Journal Impact Factors are neither transparent nor openly available to the public [4, 6, 7].
The page itself has numerous links to related posts et al.; I read this one, and this one (a quite nice piece analyzing impact factors more broadly), and thought them pretty good; there’s also a wikipedia page and Nature blog post, and I’m sure, much more (like some of my own posts on similar topics).
An important statement and development. Let’s hope it keeps steaming along (so go sign it right now!)