The volume of scholarly literature is growing rapidly and mega-journals become more and more mainstream. Scholars therefore need (new) filters to select those articles most relevant for their work. Once published, the impact of their contribution to science is mostly assessed on the basis of out-of-date mechanisms such as the impact factor. However, the actual influence of their contribution on the journal's performance will only be visible for after another 2-3 years. At the same time, many funding bodies and universities still judge scholarly performance on the average impact factor of the journal they published in. A value they may not even have attributed to as a fraction of articles are never cited, ranging from only a few to up to 80%.
A more accurate evaluation of scholarly performance would be to judge their work on a article level. Here metrics such as citations, usage, and those that track impact outside the academy, impact of influential but uncited work, and impact from sources that aren’t peer-reviewed - other important value metrics beyond the strength of a journal. Alternative metrics are still in their early stages; many questions are unanswered. But given the rapid evolution of scholarly communication, we will soon know their impact on the impact factor.
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