What is an impact factor?

Answered By: Richard Fallis
Last Updated: Feb 03, 2015     Views: 32

Impact factor is a useful bibliometric indicator of the importance of an academic publication, and can help you decide whether or not to publish your research in a particular journal.

Impact factor is defined as the average number of times that articles published in a journal in the past two years have been cited by other articles/authors in the current year.

For example, a journal with an impact factor of 30 in 2012 means that the articles published in 2010 or 2011 have each been cited on average 30 times by other articles/authors in 2012.

Click the links below to search for journal factors using Journal Citation Reports (via Web of Science).

Other methods besides impact factors can be used to establish the relative significance of a journal - our Measuring Research Impact LibGuide discusses these. 

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