Sunday, December 19, 2010

Journal Impact Factor

The best evaluation system for the quality of a Journal would involve actually reading all its articles but then the amount of information available is too much, and expanding for this sort of evaluation to carry on.

Here comes the role of Journal Impact Factor.

The Impact factor was devised by Eugene Garfield, the founder of the Institute for Scientific Information, now part of Thomson, a large worldwide US-based publisher.

It is not a perfect tool but is generally considered a good technique for scientific evaluation. For those who have some experience in research publications will know that it is difficult to get an article published in the best of journals, which incidentally also have the highest impact factors.


The impact factor for a journal is calculated based on a three-year period. It can be viewed as an approximation of the average number of citations in a year, given to those papers in a journal that were published during the two preceding years. For example, the 2003 impact factor for a journal would be calculated as follows:

A = the number of times articles published in 2001-2 were cited in indexed journals during 2003

B = the number of "citable items" (usually articles, reviews, proceedings or notes; not editorials and letters-to-the-Editor) published in 2001-2

2003 impact factor = A/B

(note that the 2003 impact factor was actually published in 2004, because it could not be calculated until all of the 2003 publications had been received.)

A convenient way of thinking about it is that if a journal is cited once for each article published it will have an Impact Factor(IF) of ‘1’ in the expression above.

In the field of psychiatry... Archives of General Psychiatry is the Highest rated in terms of IF. The impact factor of Indian Journal of Psychiatry cannot be calculated as of now as it has been indexed for less than an year.

Sci-Bytes provides ranking and impact factor for selective journals. The list is located here:

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