Impact Factor

Journal Impact Factor from Journal Citation Report (JCR), is a product of Thomson ISI (Institute for Scientific Information). JCR provides quantitative tools for evaluating journals. The impact factor is one of these; it is a measure of the frequency with which the "Average Article" in a journal has been cited in a given period of time. This section will provide introduction and information in relation to impact factor of journals published for / by Ignited Minds Journals.

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Impact Factors give the average number of citations received by articles in a particular journal; essentially, the average number of times that articles in a particular journal are referenced by other articles.

How to Calculate Impact Factor?

The Impact Factors published annually in the Journal Citation Reports® are defined as follows:

Number of citations (references) received in the Impact Factor year to articles published in the two previous years, divided by the number of articles published in these two years.

Therefore, the 2009 JCR Impact Factors (released in 2010) were calculated as follows:

No. of citations received in '09 to articles published in '08 & '07 in Journal X;
No. of articles published in '08 & '07 in Journal X;

For example, the 2009 Impact Factor for Biofouling was calculated as follows:

Citations received in 2009 to articles published in Biofouling in 2008 = 207;
Citations received in 2009 to articles published in Biofouling in 2007 = 208;
Total citations received in 2009 to articles published in 2007 and 2008 = 415;

Number of articles published in Biofouling in 2007 = 40;
Number of articles published in Biofouling in 2008 = 54;
Total number of articles published in 2007 & 2008 = 94;

2009 Impact Factor = Citations in '09 to articles published in '08 & '07;
No. of articles published in '07 & '08;
2009 Impact Factor for Biofouling = (415 ÷ 94) = 4.415.

Factor Considered While Evaluating Journal Impact Factor?

The following are the main things that need to be considered when comparing or evaluating journal Impact Factors:

Subject Variation

The average number of citations received by articles during the two years after publication varies considerably across different subject fields. This leads to very different ranges of Impact Factors in different subject areas. For example, the top journal in cell biology has an impact factor of more than 40. In law, however, the top journal has an Impact Factor of less than 5. This doesn't mean that cell biology journals are 'better' than law journals; it is simply a reflection of different referencing patterns and behaviour in these fields.

The Journal Citation Reports® take this variation into account by dividing the journals into subject categories. It is only within these categories that Impact Factors should be compared, and a journal's relative standing in a category is generally more important than the actual value of its impact factor. There are over 220 subject categories in the two editions of the Journal Citation Reports®.

You may see the following type of information on a Journal homepage:

2009 impact factor: 4.415
(2/88 Marine & Freshwater Biology, 19/150 Biotechnology & Applied Microbiology)
© Thomson Reuters Journal Citation Reports 2010

This means that the journal has an Impact Factor of 4.415 and this is the second highest Impact Factor out of the 88 journals listed in the "Marine & Fresh Water Biology" category and also 19th out of the 150 journals listed in the "Biotechnology & Applied Microbiology" category.

Basic v/s Applied Research

Applied journals are more likely to reference related basic research journals than other applied journals. There is no comparable flow of citations back from the basic research journals. Thus, basic research journals tend to receive more citations than related applied journals and, therefore, have higher Impact Factors. Practice-based and educational journals often have particularly low Impact Factors compared to the basic research journals in their fields. However, these journals fulfil a necessary role within their community.

Article Types

Review articles are generally cited more often than primary research articles. This is because authors will often cite one review article rather than the many primary research articles it is based on. As such, review journals, or journals that publish a significant amount of review content alongside their primary content, usually have higher Impact Factors than other journals in their field.

Although the JCR® lists journals from different subject areas separately to take account of subject variation in Impact Factors, it does not list review journals separately from primary research journals. Therefore review journals are often ranked amongst the highest journals in their fields. For instance, three of the top five journals in the 2009 "Chemistry Multidisciplinary" category were review journals and the other three journals published between 6% and 60% review articles.

Journal Size & Impact Factor Variability

A journal's Impact Factor can change a great deal from year to year and the smaller the journal is, the more variable its Impact Factor is likely to be. This is because small changes in the absolute number of citations received have a much larger effect on the average number of citations when the denominator (number of articles) is small.

For example, we can consider the effect of publishing an article which receives five citations, on two theoretical journals with an Impact Factor of 1.000, one publishing 25 articles a year and the other 100 articles a year. In the small journal this will improve the Impact Factor by 0.100 (5 / (2 x 25), which is a 10% improvement. In the large journal, however, this would only lead to an improvement of 0.025 (5 / (2 x 100) which is only a 2.5% improvement.

How Journal Get Impact Factor?

Journals need to be selected for coverage in either the Science Citation Index-Expanded ™ or the Social Sciences Citation Index® before they will be listed in the Journal Citation Reports® and given an Impact Factor.

Thomson Reuters considers many factors when evaluating whether to cover a journal in one of its citation indexes. These include the level of citation activity to the journal from the titles that are already indexed, basic publishing standards such as getting issues published on schedule, and the international relevance of the journal. However, the subject coverage of the journal is also an important factor and journals in well-covered or low-priority subjects may struggle to get selected.

As mentioned above, it should be noted that even if a journal is selected for coverage in the Science Citation Index-Expanded ™ or Social Sciences Citation Index ®, it will be two to three years after coverage begins before the journal is listed in the Journal Citation Reports ®, unless the journal is selected for coverage in its first volume. For example, a journal selected for coverage in 2010 should be listed for the first time in the 2012 Journal Citation Reports ®.

Useful Links

Further information about impact can be found from several other sources including, but not limited to, those listed below, Contact Us if you know of others you think should be added:

Centre for Accounting, Governance and Sustainability, University of South Australia
A range of resources has been brought together to inform academic researchers on methods for selecting journals including links to various citation analysis databases (e.g. ISI, Google Scholar, Scopus, etc.). The CAGS site provides information relevant to the Australian context, especially for the government recognised Field of Research 1501 'Accounting, Auditing and Accountability'.

Economic and Social Research Council
This tool kit can help you to communicate your research and achieve maximum impact.


Impact Assessment Research Centre (IARC)
The increasing interest in evidence-based policy-making has raised new challenges and debates among impact assessment researchers and practitioners. By encouraging an integrated approach to impact assessment, the IARC at the University of Manchester seeks to strengthen the linkages between different impact assessment methodologies and practices.

National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement
Tools and resources to help you engage with the public.

Impact Factor is an index based on the frequency with which a journal’s articles are cited in scientific publications, a marker of journal quality. The Impact Factor of a journal reflects the frequency with which the journal’s articles are cited in the scientific literature. The Impact Factor for a journal is based on a three-year period, and can be considered to be the average number of times published papers are cited up to two years after publication. The Impact Factor 2008 for a journal would be calculated as follows:

A = the number of times articles published in 2006-07 were cited in indexed journals during 2008;
B = the number of articles, reviews, proceedings or notes published in 2006-07 impact factor 2008 = A / B.

Merits (1, 2)

  • The use of Impact Factor as an index of journal quality relies on the theory that citation frequency accurately measures a journal’s importance to its end users;
  • It provides quantitative tools for ranking, evaluating, categorizing and comparing journals;
  • It eliminates some of the bias of such counts which favour large journals over small ones or frequently issued journals over less frequently issued ones and of older journals over newer ones. Particularly in the latter case such journals have a larger citable body of literature than smaller or younger journals;
  • There have been many innovative applications of journal Impact Factors. The most common involve market research for publishers and others;
  • It provides librarians and researchers a tool for the management of library journal collections;
  • In market research, Impact Factor provides quantitative evidence for editors and publishers for positioning their journals in relation to the competition—especially others in the same subject category;
  • It may also serve to advertisers interested in evaluating the potential of a specific journal;
  • Perhaps the most important and recent use of impact is in the process of academic evaluation;
  • The Impact Factor can be used to provide a gross approximation of the prestige of journals in which individuals have been published.

Limitations (3, 4)

  • Review articles generally are cited more frequently than typical research articles because they often serve as surrogates for earlier literature;
  • It is widely believed that method articles attract more citations than other types of articles;
  • The practice of self-citation can be considered at many levels, including author self-citation, journal self-citation, and subject category self-citation. This may increase the impact factor;
  • A title change affects the impact factor for two years after the change is made;
  • Different specialties exhibit different ranges of peak impact;
  • It does not distinguish between letters, reviews, or original research;
  • It has inadequate international coverage;
  • The coverage is very uneven;
  • Very few publications from languages other than English are included, and very few journals from the less-developed countries;
  • The number of citations to papers in a particular journal does not really directly measure the true quality of a journal, much less the scientific merit of the papers within it;
  • It only reflects the intensity of publication or citation in that area and the current popularity of that particular topic, along with the availability of particular journals;
  • Journals with low circulation, regardless of the scientific merit of their contents, will never obtain high Impact Factors in an absolute sense;
  • By merely counting the frequency of citations per article and disregarding the prestige of the citing journals, the Impact Factor becomes merely a metric of popularity, not of prestige;
  • A journal can adopt editorial policies that increase its Impact Factor. These editorial policies may not solely involve improving the quality of published scientific work. Journals sometimes may publish a larger percentage of review articles. While many research articles remain uncited after 3 years, nearly all review articles receive at least one citation within three years of publication; therefore review articles can raise the Impact Factors of the journal;
  • Editorials in a journal do not count as publications. However, when published articles, often articles are cited, often from the same journal, those citations increase the citation count for the article;
  • An editor of a journal may encourage authors to cite articles from that journal in the papers they submit;
  • Many authors are biased to submit there research papers just on the basis of Impact Factor of a journal ignoring national journals and submitting only those research articles which have been rejected. This may worsen the situation for any local journals.

Ignited Minds Journals aims to create awareness about Impact Factor of its journals. However, is it a metric of popularity or prestige is debatable, particularly in Indian contest. It has many merits and demerits which we think need considerations by Indian authors and time has come they should start submitting their valuable / best research to Indian journals particularly senior researchers, as young scientist / researchers have yet to achieve academic heights where as senior scientist have achieved such heights and it will not make much difference for them but will surly enhance impact of Indian journals. At the same time we have to give up a wrong attitude of not citing fellow colleague’s research, if we really want Indian journals to progress and get recognized internationally in term of Impact Factor. Very few Indian journals have been included for such citation and hence editors of Indian journals have to do lot of hard work for such inclusions.

Ignited Minds Journals appeals that Impact Factor of research should be given equal importance as being presently given to Impact Factor of other journals.


  • Somnath S, Sanjay S, Dimitri AC. Impact Factor: a valid measure of journal quality? J Med Libr Assoc 2003; 91(1): 42–46.
  • The Thomson Scientific Impact Factor.
    Available at Cited On August, 2007.
  • Journal self-citation in the Journal Citation Reports® –Science Edition (2002): A Citation Study from The Thomson Corporation.
    Available at Cited on August, 2007.
  • Impact Factor. Available on Cited on August, 2007.

Click to download ‘An Introductory Approach In Indian Context’ for brief reading and better understanding.

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We believe in publishing "Transform Academia for Social Change & Business Excellence”. In other words, research designed to have impact on different audiences. As a publisher that communicates scholarly research, we see that we play an important role in ensuring that the wider community benefits from the articles and book chapters that we publish.

Meaning of Impact for Us

We have a broad view of impact and encourage research that supports education dissemination; that Ignited Minds Journals chooses to facilitate the global production and dissemination of research; that focuses on issues of social and business importance; that helps corporate to be better managed, that benefits society or the environment, or that contributes to economic development. We believe that every piece of research should fulfil all of these criteria.

In recent years, "Research Impact" has become a major topic of debate in the field of education; this is largely due to the processes for evaluating research and funds allocation. Of course, the purpose of research will differ across disciplines and it is important that we don't lose sight of what we are seeking to achieve.

Oath to Achieve

We, had decided to get linked with different universities, institutions and corporate to generate impact factor for different journals of Ignited Minds Journals and even for those journals, who get listed with us, soon for our researchers and authors.

How We Measures the Impact?

We have identified different methods of capturing and measuring impact, including:

  • Citation;
  • Usage;
  • Inclusion of research in courseware;
  • Media comment;
  • Implementation in practice;
  • Transformation of research for new audiences;
  • Awards.

If you are aware of other methods, Contact Us to share your ideas.

How We Provide Impact Information?

We, seeks to provide impact information through:

  • Citation and "Impact" figures;
  • Usage data;
  • Recognizing papers that are excellent and fulfil impact criteria through a number of awards;
  • Informing the press when we are aware of research that has interest for a wider public audience;
  • Providing a range of journals for different target audiences (we believe that not all titles should be measured on citation alone if they communicate to a range of readers);
  • Transforming research papers each year into a shorter format for easier understanding and more immediate impact in practice and in the classroom;
  • Adding "Social Implications" to the structured abstracts that we requires from journal authors (this means that our abstract now explicitly seeks to draw out research implications, practical implications & social implications).

Journal Citation Reports (JCR) is a unique multidisciplinary journal evaluation tool. Journal Citation Reports on the Web is the only journal evaluation resource that provides statistical information based on citation data. By compiling cited references, JCR helps to measure research influence and impact at the journal level, and shows the relationships between citing and cited journals. It presents quantifiable statistical data that provides a systematic, objective way to determine the relative importance of journals within their subject categories.

Click to download ‘Journal Evaluation Tool’ for brief reading and better understanding.

Click to download ‘Journal Citation Reports on The Web 2.0’ for brief reading and better understanding.

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