The Journal Impact Factor: A brief history, critique, and discussion of adverse effects

  title={The Journal Impact Factor: A brief history, critique, and discussion of adverse effects},
  author={Vincent Larivi{\`e}re and Cassidy R. Sugimoto},
  booktitle={Springer Handbook of Science and Technology Indicators},
The Journal Impact Factor (JIF) is, by far, the most discussed bibliometric indicator. Since its introduction over 40 years ago, it has had enormous effects on the scientific ecosystem: transforming the publishing industry, shaping hiring practices and the allocation of resources, and, as a result, reorienting the research activities and dissemination practices of scholars. Given both the ubiquity and impact of the indicator, the JIF has been widely dissected and debated by scholars of every… 

Journal impact factors - The good, the bad, and the ugly

  • D. F. Malan
  • Medicine
    Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
  • 2022
The Editorial Board of the JSAIMM should adopt a pragmatic approach and not alter good journal policies simply to increase the journal impact factor, and the focus should remain on publishing excellent quality papers.

Scrambling for Higher Metrics in the Journal Impact Factor Bubble Period: A Real-World Problem in Science Management and its Implications

Universities and funders in many countries have been using Journal Impact Factor (JIF) as an indicator for research and grant assessment despite its controversial nature as a statistical

Citation Indexes: Uses and Misuses

The Web of Science citation indexes were originally intended to serve as research aids, to provide easy-to-use bibliographic aids for authors, help authors identify colleagues who have cited their

Key Performance Indicators for Social-Science and Humanities Journals: Editorial

This editorial sheds light on potential challenges that may be encountered when exposing Arab journals to the proposed standards, hoping that these standards act as a starting point for a fundamental reform in Arab journals.

Use of the journal impact factor for assessing individual articles: Statistically flawed or not?

Using computer simulations, it is demonstrated that under certain conditions the number of citations an article has received is a more accurate indicator of the value of the article than the impact factor.

Cumulative Advantage in Scientific Visibility: Citation Performance of Repeat Authors in Economics Journals

This article analyzes repeat authors as an exemplar of the Matthew Effect, using publication data for 347 economics journals from 1980-2016 to analyze whether articles written by repeat authors tend to fare better or worse than less-experienced authors.

Requiem for impact factors and high publication charges

It is argued that new approaches to assessment are required to provide a realistic and comprehensive measure of the value of research and journals and open access publishing at a modest, affordable price to benefit research producers and consumers.

The TOP factor: An indicator of quality to complement journal impact factor

For decades, articles about journal quality or prestige have been published with some regularity (Highhouse et al., 2020). Through such publications, the quality or prestige of journals, and

Citation inequality and the Journal Impact Factor: median, mean, (does it) matter?

Correlation of mean citations with the measures of citation inequality indicated that the unequal distribution of citations per journal is more prominent and, thus, relevant for journals with lower citation rates.

Use of the journal impact factor for assessing individual articles need not be wrong

A theoretical analysis of statistical arguments against the use of the impact factor at the level of individual articles shows that these arguments do not support the conclusion that the impact factors should be used for assessing individual articles.



The journal impact factor denominator: defining citable (counted) items.

This journal-specific analysis identifies the journal sections, subsections, or both that contain materials likely to be considered scholarly works, and which therefore have the potential to be cited.

Escape from the impact factor

As Editor-in-Chief of the journal Nature, I am concerned by the tendency within acade- mic administrations to focus on a journal's impact factor when judging the worth of scientific contri- butions

Reasons for Journal Impact Factor Changes: Influence of Changing Source Items

The results of this analysis point out the potentially delusive effect of IF increases gained through effective shrinkage of publication output, and careful consideration of the details of the IF equation and possible implementation of control mechanisms versus the volatile factor of number of articles may help to improve the expressiveness of this metric.

Is the impact of journal impact factors decreasing?

The paper shows that the commonly used journal impact factor can to some extent be relatively easily manipulated.

Journal impact measures in bibliometric research

It is shown that in contrast to a common misbelief statistical methods can be applied to discrete "skewed" distributions, and that the statistical reliability of these statistics can be used as a basis for application of journal impact measures in comparative analyses.

History of the journal impact factor: Contingencies and consequences

The paper shows how the various building blocks of the dominant JIF came into being and argues that these building blocks were all constructed fairly arbitrarily or for different purposes than those that govern the contemporary use of the JIF.

The impact factor's Matthew Effect: A natural experiment in bibliometrics

This paper shows that the journal in which papers are published have a strong influence on their citation rates, as duplicate papers published in high impact journals obtain, on average, twice as much citations as their identical counterparts published in journals with lower impact factors.

A simple proposal for the publication of journal citation distributions

It is proposed that this methodology be adopted by all journals as a move to greater transparency, one that should help to refocus attention on individual pieces of work and counter the inappropriate usage of JIFs during the process of research assessment.