Which is Better? Impact Factor or Impact Quotient

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  Aug 30, 2017   Enago Academy
  : Academic Writing, Referencing & Citations
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Image credits: Vmenkov via Wikimedia Commons

Researchers consider a variety of factors when choosing a journal for publication. However, many often make the mistake of choosing an inappropriate journal. This can heavily influence the value of your research in the eyes of the academic community.

Two Sides of a Journal’s Impact

A recent trend is an obsession of submitting to high impact factor journals (IF), also known as the “big science era.” This obsession of targeting only journals with high IFs results in frustration on the rejection of the manuscript. Authors then move to journals with lower IFs in the hope of publication. The IF of a journal is one of the prime considerations that authors take into account. However, researchers also pointed out that the IF has a number of flaws.

Another method for assessing a journal is the Impact Quotient (IQ). Researchers have begun using the IQ as proof of a journal’s relevance. For 95% of journals, the IF is an inadequate measure of the journal’s credibility. In addition, the IF is not an effective measure of journal selectivity. IQ is claimed to be a more accurate metric for choosing journals. IF is now outdated and should not be used as the sole measure of a journal.

About the Impact Factor

The IF of a journal depends on a simple mathematical formula based on the average number of citations for an article. A journal’s IF is the most commonly accepted bibliometric tool for characterizing journals and is useful as a basis for recording the absolute number of citations. This helps prevent the bias of favoring large journals over smaller ones. Simply put, journals with more articles will be cited more frequently. Apart from using the IF as a basis for journal selection, it also influences market research, advertising, and academic evaluation.

However, a few flaws were discovered in a 2007 study. These limitations can be addressed using other bibliometric tools.

  • IFs are significantly dependent on the research field. Journals reporting basic research and having expanding literature use a larger number of references per article.
  • IFs do not statistically represent individual journal articles. Normally, IFs are based on small groups of highly cited papers.
  • IFs are based on a flawed calculation that causes bias.
  • Since the number of citations within a journal is highly skewed, the IF does not provide an accurate measure of the number of citations that a future article will receive. There are no correlations found between the number of citations and a journal’s IF.

The Impact Quotient

A more accurate measure of the citation distribution of a research area is the IQ. The IQ is a percentile, rather than an average. Moreover, the IQ only counts reviews and research articles. Therefore, it is unaffected by citations received by opinion pieces and reviews. Unlike the IF, the IQ is also unaffected by the fact that highly selective journals are broadly exposed, attracting more citations. The IQ is a more accurate measure of the number of citations that a journal receives. A journal’s IQ is a much better metric to use, and using the IF alone is a mistake.

Why You Should Use the Impact Quotient

Researchers search for journal articles with a greater impact. When an article gets published in a high impact factor journal, the researcher garners more esteem. It has been this way for decades, and various types of IFs are now seen as the gold standard for sizing up a journal. However, this practice needs to be challenged because the IF of a journal must not depend solely on a measure that is terribly skewed. It is both unfair and unreliable. The IQ is a superior measure of a journal’s impact. Sadly, it is not widely used even though scholars have advocated for its use.

Choosing which journal to publish your article is a tedious but critical process. Publishing in a journal with higher impact factor can further career advancement. Although it has been proven that the IQ is a better metric, a vast majority of journals still rely on the IF as a journal metric. You should consider the IQ when deliberating on journals, simply because it is accurate, unbiased, and better suited at assessing the reach of your article. Citation-based metrics form the grounds for journal selection. Keep an open mind and remember it’s all a matter of IQ.

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