Dr. Washington’s Joint Impact Factor (JIF)

It’s my birthday, says Dr. Washington, so have a slice of my JIF. Photo illustration by Christina Szalinski

It’s my birthday, says Dr. Washington, so have a slice of my JIF. Photo illustration by Christina Szalinski

Once again it is my official birthday (Thanks, Congress) and, as usual, I am celebrating by taking a day off from the Dr. Washington Lab (while allowing my always-eager grad students and postdocs back at Mt. Vernon to press ahead with their relentless pursuit of knowledge). Today I am not slaving over the bench or in my office peer-reviewing the misguided science of others. Today I am looking at the Big Picture. Indeed this morning as I was shaving and having my wig powdered, I wondered aloud, “What impact has the Dr. Washington Lab had on science?” Immense, I am happy to report.


A quick search for “Washington G” citations on NCBI’s PubMed engine turned up 14,319 hits. I confess that I have not read all these citations, but I would point out that since I first established my lab at Mt. Vernon after my retirement from the federal government in 1797, my work has been widely cited for the last 209 years. (Who could overlook my contributions to the Molecular Imaging and Contrast Agent Database or the Health Cost & Utilization Project?) Forget quibbles about grabbing credit due others. Look at my numbers. No one can top my numbers. (“Darwin C,” 225; “Mendel G,” 269; “Watson J,” 203; Crick F,” 101. Ha! Case closed!)


So I asked myself, “What can a great scientist do with the greatest impact of all?” I took a quick turn through my cherry orchard (the snow is finally melting here in the DC area) and came to a momentous decision. I here announce the Dr. Washington Joint Impact Factor (JIF).


I have heard the piteous tales of junior and early career scientists who report that in academia today, publishing a big discovery in a small IF journal is worse than death. They say that without a whopping IF citation on their CV, they have no hope of a tenure track position, let alone tenure. To these, the wretched rejects of Big IF journals, I say, cite “Washington G” in your next manuscript. And I will cite you back in my online open access journal, Dr. Washington Reports. Within hours, you will have a JIF of 14,320. Take that Nature Reviews Something or Cell, Cell, Cell!


The next time the chair of your department tells you that a paper published in Verhandlungen des naturforschenden Vereins Brünn can have no conceivable scientific impact because the journal has an IF below 10, remind her that your work is soaring through the JIF stratosphere at this very moment. The Father of Our Country has ample room in his lab coat for up and comers.

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