Thursday, July 09, 2020

Zootaxa has no impact factor

So this happened:

Zootaxa is a hugely important journal in animal taxonomy:

On one hand one could argue that impact factor is a bad way to measure academic impact, so it's tempting to say this simply reflects a poor metric that is controlled by a commercial company using data that is not open. But it quickly became clear on Taxacom that in some countries the impact factor of the journal you publish in is very important (to the point where it has a major effect on your personal income, and whether it is financially possible for you to continue your career). This discussion got rather heated, but it was quite eye opening to someone like me who casually dismisses impact factor as not interesting.

Partly in response to this I spent a little time scraping the Zootaxa web site to put together a list of all the literature cited by articles published in Zootaxa. Normally this sort of thing dies a lingering death on my hard drive, but this time I've got myself more organised and created a GitHub project for the code and I've uploaded the data to Figshare doi:10.6084/m9.figshare.c.5054372.v1. Regardless of the impact factor issue, it's potentially a fascinating window into centuries of taxonomic publications.