Three national academies issued a statement on good practice in the evaluation of researchers and research programs in October of 2017. The statement recognized the need for efficient, fair, and robust researcher evaluation, especially as the size of the research community continues to increase. The statement notes that research articles of varying degrees of quality are published in any given journal, and says that “the main criteria [for evaluation] must be the quality, originality and importance of the scientific research.”
Impact factors of journals should not be considered in evaluating research outputs. Bibliometric indicators such as the widely used H index or numbers of citations (per article or per year) should only be interpreted by scientific experts able to put these values within the context of each scientific discipline. The source of these bibliometric indicators must be given and checks should be made to ensure their accuracy by comparison to rival sources of bibliometric information. The use of bibliometric indicators should only be considered as auxiliary information to supplement peer review, not a substitute for it. The use of bibliometric indicators for early career scientists must in particular be avoided. Such use will tend to push scientists who are building their career into well established/fashionable research fields, rather than encouraging them to tackle new scientific challenges.