From my sideline seat, Thompson Reuters seems awfully archaic

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Can someone please explain to me how and why Thompson Reuters Scientific has such a grip on scientific journal Impact Factors?

If you look at the list of various indexing services, you can see that they are all brushed aside for Thompson Reuters. It seems to me that unless a journal is indexed by Thompson Retuers, then it really is not considered to have any relevant impact on the scientific literature.

OK, so maybe these guys were anointed by the community to stand in as the über-authority index. I can deal with that. But, I think also there is an opportunity for an independent authority index, à la Technorati.

I think it just might be my natural inclination to suspect a single source of authority ranking. But I think it’s more likely because I see so many tools available to measure impact that could be more responsive and maybe more granular than what the current system seems like to me.

I’ve started looking into this. People are coming up with alternatives. It also seems like Thompson Reuters realizes that they might lose a hold on their position.

Yeah, my brain has been munging on this lately.

Link to article that set off this brainwave: BioMed Central Blog : Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases tracked by Thomson Reuters and set to receive first impact factor in June 2008

Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases was recently accepted for tracking by Thomson Reuters. It is included in the ISI Web of Knowledge database and will receive its first impact factor this summer. We are delighted with this achievement, which confirms the prominence and reputation which Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases  has achieved in its field.

Link to recent journal article: Effectiveness of Journal Ranking Schemes as a Tool for Locating Information

As de Solla Price observed [3], the number of scientific journals and the number of papers published in those journals is increasing at an approximately exponential rate. The size and growth of the research literature places a tremendous burden on researchers—how are they to select what to browse, what to read, and what to cite from a large and quickly growing body of literature?