Introduction to Journal Impact Factors

What is a Journal Impact Factor?

Journal Impact Factors (also called JIFs or IFs) aim to give an indication of how influential a journal is within it’s field.

It is based on how often articles from Journal X were cited by other articles published in a particular year (e.g. 2019). So the more frequently articles in that journal are cited in other articles the higher that journal’s impact factor will be.

The importance of impact factors varies between and within disciplines, and the impact factor is one tool which aims to compare journals within a given discipline.

How do I find a journal’s impact factor?

The journal’s homepage will often have it’s impact factor. However, what is considered a high or low Impact Factor differs between subject areas – this is due to different levels of citation activity within disciplines. So the impact factor of other journals within the same discipline is important for comparison and context.

OK, so where can I search for can compare Journal Impact Factors?

Web of Science is the website to visit. The library subscribes to it: watch the video below for a “how to” guide.

Journal Impact Factors are a useful tool, but a high Impact Factor doesn’t indicate that all articles within that journal will be without design flaws, the video below gives more detail:

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