Measuring Quality

Using Impact Factor to assess a Journal Andrew Colgoni, Science Fluencies Librarian colgoni@mcmaster.ca

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Objectives
By the end of lesson, you

• •

will be able to look up impact factors for journals will be able to explain how it is calculated and some drawbacks.

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Impact Factor is:
• A measurement devised ~50 years ago to show
how ‘important’ a journal is. journals

• Based on numbers of citations to articles in • Often used to decide where to publish • A crude measure - is but one thing to consider
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The calculation
For a given Journal: # of times articles published in the previous two years were cited in any journal ________________________________ # of articles published in the previous two years
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The Journal Cell
For 2008: Cell articles from 2006 & 2007 were cited: 22440 times Cell published 718 articles in 2006 & 2007 IF = 22440/718 = 31.253 Journals want a higher number.
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Other Measures
• 5-year Impact Factor (instead of 2) • Immediacy Index (articles cited within the
same publishing year)

• Eigenfactor

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Finding IF

Web of Science!

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Finding IF
Go to “Select a Database”

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Finding IF
Journal Citation Reports

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Finding IF

Browse by Subject Category OR Search for a title
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Finding IF

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Finally!

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Brainstorm
• What problems/flaws do you think IF might
have? AND/OR

• What alternative measures of journal quality
would you suggest?

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Problems with IF
• Articles are cited, NOT Journals • Inaccuracies in citation data • Self-citation • Online Availability/Open access bias • Journals with more Review articles & longer
articles have better IFs

• Limited to those Journals indexed
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Alternative Measures
• Different metrics: Eigenfactor, e.g. • Article level measures • Access/Views #’s? Community Rating?
Media Coverage? Usefulness?

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