It’s good to see more posts rubbishing the impact factor, like this one and this one. I discussed the impact factor in a previous post. Some day, when I have time, I’m going to come up with a better metric.
Do extremely low impact factors mean anything? Does an impact factor of 0 tell us anything?
Why do we like rankings? We all like to look at the top ten of this, that and the other. The top ten songs, films, downloads, views, and so on… We read them. Journalists know we read them, so there are more rankings all the time.
Dare I suggest that some things cannot be compared? Sometimes one thing is not better or worse than another, just different. Like journals.
Rankings are fine when they are just for fun. When careers depend on them, they become a serious business. For example, the Sight and Sound greatest films of all time poll recently hit the news. Yes, it’s fun to argue about rankings of films, about whether Citizen Kane is better than 2001. Now suppose a director got a job because one of his films was ranked highly. After all, you would put it on your CV, wouldn’t you… Then these rankings start to matter.