Published on [Permalink]
Reading time: 2 minutes
Posted in:

The definition of cancer, with a few side notes on impact factor

A group of cancer researchers proposes an updated definition of cancer:

While reflecting past insights, current definitions have not kept pace with the understanding that the cancer cell is itself transformed and evolving. We propose a revised definition of cancer: Cancer is a disease of uncontrolled proliferation by transformed cells subject to evolution by natural selection.

I like it!

Side note: the opinion came out in Molecular Cancer Research. It is a journal published by a reputable organization with an impact factor of 5.2. No shame in that, but… Many predatory journals now have IFs that are the same or even higher See also: Goodhart’s law. And also, this is a good example of why a metric becomes meaningless over time without context, or at least a unless the impact factor is mid-to-high double digits, it no longer carries much information on the journal’s credibility or readership.

A side note to the side note: a paper published in a journal listed as predatory is the second-highest cited of any I co-authored: 100 and counting. I also think it is a very good paper, although a review article getting that many citations is a sign that too many people are not citing primary literature, which is bad! And my most highly cited paper is also a review! This is embarassing for me, but speaks even worse for the people doing all that review-citing. But maybe having a journal listed as predatory no longer carries much information on the articles there not being worth a read?

✍️ Reply by email

✴️ Also on