Journal Impact Factor (JIF) has been used in assessing scientific journals. Other indices, h- and g-indices and Article Influence Score (AIS), have been developed to overcome some limitations of JIF. The aims of this study were, first, to critically assess the use of JIF and other parameters related to medical education research, and second, to discuss the capacity of these indices in assessing research productivity as well as their utility in academic promotion. The JIF of 16 medical education journals from 2000 to 2011 was examined together with the research evidence about JIF in assessing research outcomes of medical educators. The findings were discussed in light of the nonnumerical criteria often used in academic promotion. In conclusion, JIF was not designed for assessing individual or group research performance, and it seems unsuitable for such purposes. Although the g- and h-indices have demonstrated promising outcomes, further developments are needed for their use as academic promotion criteria. For top academic positions, additional criteria could include leadership, evidence of international impact, and contributions to the advancement of knowledge with regard to medical education.