This paper puts a historical perspective on the use of Impact Factors. It describes how Impact Factors were used in a U.S. National Research Council project 35 years ago to evaluate the improvements that resulted from a billion dollar University Science Development program funded by the National Science Foundation. Impact Factor rankings proved to have a remarkably high correlation to science departments ranking obtained from a different source. The paper considers additional policy aspects of impact factors.
Drew, David E.
"Journal Self-Citation XXII: On the Journal Impact Factor – A Historical Perspective,"
Communications of the Association for Information Systems:
Vol. 25, Article 22.
Available at: http://aisel.aisnet.org/cais/vol25/iss1/22