Science Citation Index-Impact Factor

Joe Felsenstein joe at
Wed Jan 8 09:53:42 EST 1997

[Donald Forsdyke]
>>>   In particular I am thinking here of journals such as the Journal of 
>>>Theoretical Biology, which in 1964 published work leading to the modern 
>>>"selfish gene" paradigm, an idea apparently ignored at the time.

[I wrote]
>>Hamilton's papers of 1964 in JTB were not ignored at the time as far as
>>I know.  By the early 1970's they were very well known and they have often been
>>cited.  By the time the "selfish gene" slogan came along there was already
>>quite a bit of activity in the field of kin selection, with Hamilton
>>acknowledged by one and all for being the founder of this line of work.

[Donald Forsdyke]
>     ... Yes, by the early 70's, over 6 years after 
>the initial publication citations were increasing. But most high impact 
>papers peak much before this, and the set of journals which specialize in 
>such papers get high impact factors. 

I think it's just that evolutionary biologists publish more slowly than
say, molecular biologists.  It's rare that we deal with a journal that can
publish our papers quickly, for example.  I can think of a lot of other cases
where important papers got few responses for years after they were published,
but cannot have been considered to have been "ignored" because the
followup work did flow directly from them.

Joe Felsenstein         joe at     (IP No.
 Dept. of Genetics, Univ. of Washington, Box 357360, Seattle, WA 98195-7360 USA

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