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Journal Impact Factor

Find out how to identify the highest impact journals in a field via Journal Citation Reports from Web of Science


A journal's "impact factor" was first mentioned by Eugene Garfield* (Founder of Institute of Scientific Information, now part of Thomson) in Science in 1955.

*Garfield, E. (1955). Citation indexes to science: A new dimension in documentation through association of ideas. Science, 122(3159), 108-111.

Today, the Journal Impact Factor is known as one of the tools in the Journal Citation Reports (powered by ISI Web of Science) that can be used to rank, evaluate, categorize and compare journals. 

Cautionary Notes

Many journals do not have an Impact Factor – only journals indexed in Web of Science have impact factors!
Hence, non-inclusion is not necessarily a reflection on its scholarly quality.
The Impact Factor can provide information about a journal as a whole, namely the extent to which its recent papers were cited in a given year.
The Impact Factor does not provide information about a specific paper or specific author.

      a.   Most articles in most fields are not well cited. 
      b.   Many articles are never cited. 
      c.   Less than 25% of all articles receive 5 or more citations.