What a journal means for its subject area is frequently determined by the impact factor (IF), which serves as a marker. Eugene Garfield, the man behind the Institute for Scientific Information, was the first to mention it. Although IF is frequently used by organisations and clinicians, there are many misconceptions about how it is calculated, why it matters, and how it can be applied. The level of peer review and articles of the journal are not factors that affect a journal’s IF. The average citation numbers of published articles decide this for a journal.

The IF measures how frequently the “average article” in a journal has been cited during a given time period, and is widely used to gauge a journal’s relative importance within its area. Journals that publish more review papers will get higher IFs. Journals with higher IFs than those with lower ones are thought to be more significant. The capacity of journals and editors to draw in the best papers, in Eugene Garfield’s words, “simply reflects impact.” The maximum IFs will go to the journal that publishes the most reviews.

Factors affecting IF

Date of publication: The IF is determined by how often a journal’s articles are cited over the initial years following publication. This is bad for journals that publish articles that are cited gradually over time, say over the course of ten years as opposed to immediately. In other words, compared to journals in fields like education or economics, journals on swiftly developing topics such as cell biology and computing journals have greater instant citation rates, resulting in high IFs.

Impact Factor of the Journal: Journal articles are not cited equally throughout the journal. Even if some articles may not receive any citations at all, a smart number of highly cited ones may result in a high IF for the journal. The standard of each article published in a journal is therefore not accurately reflected by the IF. Additionally, journals having more articles and issues may have higher Ifs, and this could be deceptive because they do not necessarily reflect the calibre of the articles.

Review papers: Editorials, letters, news articles, and review articles (which frequently have more citations) are not included in the total number of articles but are included in the journal’s count of citations if they are cited. This opens up the possibility of manipulating the ratio utilised to determine IFs, which can sometimes result in inflated impact factors.

Clinical Journals: Typically, these journals have few citations. As a result, these journals are at a disadvantage to those in the field that publish in research journals with more citations.

Unsymmetrical Coverage: The Journal Citation Report puts a lot more of its attention on fields where journal articles are the main forms of publication. In the fields of social science and humanism, where books and other publishing mediums are increasingly prevalent, it offers less coverage.





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