What is a Journal Impact Factor?
An impact factor is a measurement looking at the average number of citations articles in a particular journal receives.
It is calculated by:
The number of times that all items published in a journal in the previous two years (e.g. 2014 & 2015) were cited by indexed publications during the year of interest (e.g. 2016)
The total number of "citable items" published by that journal in those two years (e.g. 2014 & 2015)
Finding a Journal Impact Factor
- Go to Journal Citation Reports
- Start typing the name of the journal and choose from the list that appears:
Remember - not all journals are indexed by the Journal Citation Reports, so not all journals have an impact factor.
- You will then see the Journal Profile, which includes the Impact Factor:
Find the highest impact journal in your area
- Click on Journals By Rank
- Click 'Select Category' and select the subject area closet to your own:
- Click Submit at the bottom of the screen.
- Scroll down to see the journals within the category, ranked by impact factor:
Responsible use of journal impact factors:
The University of Leicester has signed the The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA), which includes the following advice for researchers:
- When involved in committees making decisions about funding, hiring, tenure, or promotion, make assessments based on scientific content rather than publication metrics.
- Wherever appropriate, cite primary literature in which observations are first reported rather than reviews in order to give credit where credit is due.
- Use a range of article metrics and indicators on personal/supporting statements, as evidence of the impact of individual published articles and other research outputs.
- Challenge research assessment practices that rely inappropriately on Journal Impact Factors and promote and teach best practice that focuses on the value and influence of specific research outputs.