I read a journal article titled “Impact factors: Influencing careers, creativity and academic freedom” by Dallen Timothy in Tourism Management from 2015. The essay details strategies one must employ when trying to obtain tenure at a university. When evaluating the tenure process it all comes back to one key indicator: the impact factor of journals. When professors are trying to get tenure they must publish in “high impact” journals which are set by their governing board. The unfortunate challenge of Open Access journals is that they are not on these “lists”. In order to become more widely used in academia OA journals first have to become relevant to the governing boards. Literally, what counts is what is counted.
The author states it best when he says: “My comments reflect concerns regarding impact factors as inhibitors of younger-career academics, limiters of academic freedom, and suppressors of creativity and innovation.” He supports the idea that the more freedom to publish where one desires will encourage a new generation of critical thinkers. We can’t get outside the box when the box is made of steel.