Impact Factor


In today’s post, we will be talking about the well known Impact Factor (IF).

This IF was created in 1955 by Eugene Garfield for “Science” journal. The idea behind this index is to measure the importance of a scientific journal based on the number of citations that the journal’s papers have.

As you know, a citation is done when another scientific reads a paper and mentions it on it’s own publication. In this sense, the more citations a journal has, the more importance it gains.

What is the impact factor of a journal?

The IF is calculated by dividing the number of citations from the past 2 years between the corresponding total number of publications:

Currently, there are may companies that calculate it’s own impact factor and organize their journals based on it. For example, Country of Papers search engine uses the information from Scimago Journal & Country Rank which has more than 31,000 journals. Another important index is the Journal Citation Report (JCR), created by Web of Science, which has become the most popular index in the scientific world.

The importance of the IF is really high nowadays but is also subject to a high controversy. It is a fact that many journals encourage their authors to auto-cite their own journals in order to increase their impact. This may attract the journals as their impact factor is increased. Also, we must question ourselfs: Are publications being produced to contribute science development? Or to obtain a high impact? Such is the importance of this fact, that we will be discussing this issue in a future post.

Another curious fact is that many scientist do not know how the IF is calculated. They usually only care about the ranking position of the journals as they are interested in publishing their paper in the most prestigious journal possible.

It’s a fact that, in order to recieve funds or a contract, your paper must be published in a specific journal rank. That is why nowadays we talk about the “Publish or Perish” and we see the creation of many “Predatory Journals”, that use the work of many scientifics and publish them in low quality journals by cheating them with false promises/results.

As you may note, the IF has become a crucial index for scientific publication. In future posts, we will explaiin in detail some of the points highlighted. Stay tuned!

Thanks a lot for reading us!