Journal Impact Factor – Some Interesting Pointers

In the industry we’re a part of, the term impact factor (IF) and its value plays a pivotal role and an understanding of it is essential. While most of us are aware of how important it is for journals, we are not familiar with how it is calculated and how editors can contribute toward raising the IF. Here is an article published in August 2015 that provides some essential information about the background of IF, how it is awarded, and how it is used (and abused): http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.ismte.org/resource/resmgr/EON_Shared_Articles/The_Impact_Factor_For_Better.pdf.

Here are some pointers from it:

  • The IF is calculated by taking (1) the number of times all items published in Journal X over a two-year period (e.g., 2012 and 2013) are cited by other Web of Science–indexed publications in the following year (2014 in this case) and (2) the number of citable items published in Journal X in that same two-year period. Then the math is performed: 1 divided by 2. The resulting number is Journal X’s 2014 IF, which the journal will receive in 2015, usually in June. The IF is the average number of citations received by each article published during that particular two-year period.
  • …the full evaluation includes review of the journal’s publishing standards (timeliness, accessible content, English language, peer review), editorial content (novel content, comparison to competitors), international diversity (authors, editors, Editorial Board representing an international community), and citation analysis.


John Mehrmann outlined six objectives for building customer loyalty, five of which are of special importance in publishing:

  • If you want loyalty, you have to give it
  • Communicate
  • Understand your customer’s goals
  • Be consistent
  • Build credibility

Here’s an interesting infographic explaining good procedures that journals follow to improve their IF:

Journal Impact Factor


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