Leading Professional Society for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics
Connecting, Training, Empowering, Worldwide

ISCB Annual Awards & Competitions

2017 ISCB Art in Science Competition

Nick Schurch and Chris Cole, University of Dundee, United Kingdom -  ImpactFactorNick Schurch
Chris Cole

University of Dundee, United Kingdom


impactFactor is a perspective on the use of the Journal Impact Factor scores in science. In taking a literal interpretation of this score we, as scientists, are questioning its use as a measure of scientific quality or importance.

Journal Impact Factor aims to reflect the importance of a journal, however it is now used to assess the quality of the scientists who publish within it. Employers and funding bodies conflate this artificial metric as a simplistic judge of a scientist’s quality with their choice of publisher. With this perspective for modern scientists, it could be argued that where they publish has become more important than the science itself! We feel it would be much better to judge both the scientist and their publications on merit alone.

The use of artificial quality metrics is an issue for all scientists and this piece is part of the discussion of moving scientific publishing away from its 17th Century roots. Publication remains a cornerstone of scientific research but impactFactor highlights the need for a better way to judge, and, perhaps publish, impactful science.

The original acrylic on canvas artwork was exhibited at Symbiosis, a local collaborative Science/Art exhibition in Dundee. The piece measures 2m x 2m and is too big to bring to the conference, instead, we present here a 70cm x70cm photographic interpretation of the piece.