Publish or Perish? Impact Factors and the
h-index. A guide for academics and
graduate students
Prof. Simon F. Mitchell
Head, Department of Geography and Geology Faculty of Science and Technolgy UWI, Mona, Jamaica
Wednesday 4th June, 2014
10:00 - 11:30 a.m
Noor Hassanali Lecture Theatre
(Faculty of Law)


Publish or Perish? Impact Factors and the h-index.A guide for academics and graduate students

by Simon F. Mitchell Professor of Sedimentary Geology and Head of Department, Department of Geography and Geology, The University of the West Indies, Mona, Kingston, Jamaica.

Over the last 50 years, there has been a move to try and quantity the value of academic publications and this has developed into the research area of bibliometrics. Bibliometrics use proxies to determine the value of an academic's work; and these proxies have been used, often incorrectly, as a direct method of assessment of an academic. They are used when academics are hired by universities and colleges, they are used when academics seek new contracts, tenure and promotion, they are used when academics apply for grants, and they are even used when researchers submit publication for papers (is your paper good enough for my Journal?).

The well-known term 'Impact Factor' has been widely used and reported, but many of those who use it do not understand its value and its limitations. Impact Factors relate to international journal articles; which begs the question of "How do we compare regional journals and book?" Additional bibliometric indices have been proposed in the last 10 years, and two of these, the h-index and the m-index, have gained popularity and are now routinely used in decision making. This presentation will explain the various bibliometric indices that are in common use, and examine how they should, and should not, be used. It also discusses the pros and cons of publication in books, book chapters, traditional journals and Open Access Journals. The Open Access Model provides free access to publications for all, but raises questions about how rigorous the review process is and the ethics of paying for publishing.

The aim of this presentation is to provide academics and graduate students with the necessary information to navigate this difficult area and to use these indices to their advantage. Some of the topics covered, include:

1.What is an Impact Factor and how should it be used?
2.How do Impact Factors vary across disciplines and what journals should you choose to publish in?
3.Can and should Impact Factors be used to assess the value of individual papers and researchers?
4.What are the h-index and m-index and how do they relate to you?
5.What should you use to calculate your h-index ?
6.Are h-indices comparable across disciplines?
7.Can and should we use the h-index for promotion?
8.How do the h-indices and m-indices of UWI compare with other institutions?
9.How can you improve your h-index ?
10.Where should you publish your papers?
11.The value and pitfalls of publishing in Open Access Journals.

View Full Presentation Here