What Is Journal Impact Factor? What Is Its Significance?

July 3rd, 2021

Reading time about 13 min

If you are a prospective author or researcher, it is natural that you will find it difficult to choose a journal to publish your research paper. You may have several questions such as: What is that you want to communicate to people across the world? How exactly do you want to communicate your study to people? Which journal will best suit you to make a statement to people in your community, as well as the world.

Though there are several factors that you need to consider while choosing an academic journal, the most important one is the journal impact factor, which is one among various metrics, and has become a common aspect in scholarships.

Journal Impact Factor, Library Books

What Is a Journal Impact Factor?

A journal impact factor is a measured frequency which shows the number of times an average article has been cited in a journal during a particular year. You need an indicator to gauge a journal’s importance in the field, and the impact factor (IF) is often used for the purpose. With an IF, you get to know the frequency with which articles published in that journal during the last two years, say 2019 and 2020, were cited by articles published during a particular year, say 2021.

The reputation of a journal in its area or field can be known through the approximate indication provided by the impact factor. Hence, the higher a journal’s IF, the larger the number of times the articles are cited in the journal by other articles.   

How to Measure a Journal Impact Factor?

Eugene Garfield, who found the Institute for Scientific Information, introduced the formula to measure an impact factor of a journal. It is measured by dividing the factor how many times the articles are cited by the number of citable articles. The calculation is generally based on a period of two years.

Therefore:  A = the frequency of articles, which were published in 2019 and 2020, cited by the indexed journal in 2021.

B = the number of “citable articles” published in the journal in 2019 and 2020

A/B = Journal impact factor for 2021

While calculating the impact factor, the analysis is restricted to 12,298 journals, which are indexed for Journal Citation Reports JCR and covers only 27 research disciplines. The IF for the present year cannot be calculated, as well as for a new journal. It is done after two years, which means for 2021, it can be measured in 2024, and as for the journal, it should have completed at least three years of publication.

Journal Impact Factor, Calculation Formula

The Significance of an Impact Factor

A journal’s influence on a related field or discipline was measured thirty years ago. Since then, the IF metric has developed to apply in diverse journal literature by professionals, who found it quite effective. Most researchers today look for information related to impact factor to make sure that they have submitted their research papers to the most visible and reliable journals in the discipline. The IF has grown to become a marketing, as well as competitive analysis tool for publishers, who use it to highlight a journal’s value measured in quantitative terms to a particular research community.

Use of Plagiarism Checkers by High Impact Factor Journals

Plagiarism is often committed in journal articles when an author uses some other authors’ work deliberately or mechanically, without giving a due credit or without acknowledgement or permission. Students writing a research paper should see that their work is free of duplicate content and ensure it using an online plagiarism checker before having the articles published in a particular journal. Unintentional plagiarism may occur when writing a thesis or an essay.

Whether it be a student or scholar, writing a manuscript to publish asks for undergoing an elaborate writing process to improve the citations for high journal impact factor. It requires you to start writing when you are doing research. To start, you need to write a thesis statement for it helps you define the content of your paper. Next, you need to have a format for your journal article, which usually includes abstract, introduction, methods used, findings and recommendation or discussion. Before completing your writing, you need to choose the journal depending on various aspects such as:

  • Focus: This shows the discipline the journal represents, as well as the orientation, i.e., whether basic or clinical and applied or theoretical
  • Language: The language you choose depends on the audience you want to target. If you want to address your journal to the international community, you need to choose English.
  • Index: The reputation of a journal depends on its indexing in major databases of your relevant field.
  • Reputation: You can know the reputation of a journal by determining its impact factor   

After you have prepared your final draft, you need to check for any copied content using a reliable scientific journal plagiarism scanner, which can conduct in-depth scanning. Several publication houses, as well as online publishers use this tool to gain journal citation reports JCR. The anti plagiarism software is also used by freelance writers and online journal content creators to compare journals. Large publishing houses have the API-based software to integrate with their system to save their reputation in terms of protecting authors’ work and increasing the journal impact factor.  

You can check the impact factor of a particular journal by searching online or using the JCR.

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