What is an Impact Factor?
What is Impact Factor misuse?
We urge authors to refrain from engaging in impact factor misuse, which includes, for example, focusing narrowly on a journal's impact factors (IF) as the sole determinant of submission to a journal for consideration. This also can include withdrawing a paper to submit the manuscript to a journal with a higher IF. Such practices can be considered poor scientific practice, and is often based on a misunderstanding on what the IF measures or how research should be (and in practice is) valued.
The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (see DORA statement) clearly states that any other use of the impact factor is misuse: "Do not use journal-based metrics, such as journal Impact Factors, as a surrogate measure of the quality of individual research articles, to assess an individual scientist’s contributions, or in hiring, promotion, or funding decisions." The IF is a tool for libraries and journal editors to study the ranking of a journal within a discipline. It is conceptually inappropriate to use a journal's IF as the sole determinant to assess the importance of an article, e.g., for tenure and promotion purposes or research evaluation of individual researchers or research groups.
Other international standards and policies are also moving in a similar direction, e.g. the Leiden Manifesto. Other national or international policies that have been traditionally on the opposing end, systematically incentivizing and perpetuating IF misuse, may also be seeking to change such practices. For example, see “Some Suggestions on Standardizing the Use of SCI Paper Indexes in Higher Educational Institutes and Establishing Correct Evaluation Orientation”, and “Some Measures to Eliminate the Bad Orientation of “Papers Only” in Science and Technology Evaluation (Trial)”.
What does this mean for a manuscript in a JMIR Publications journal?
JMIR Publications journals are all top journals due to rigorous peer-review and selection criteria.
Although various journals have different IFs, it is false to assume that papers published in journals with higher IFs are more important papers than manuscripts published JMIR publications journals with no or lower IFs.
When we suggest a transfer of a paper to another JMIR Publications journal, this is done because of better fit for the scope of that journal or other reasons that would be provided to the authors upon issuance of a decision. This is not because of the impact factor (See: Why has my article been transferred to another journal (or a transfer has been suggested), and what are my options?)
All JMIR Publications journals are open access. If a paper makes an "impact" then it will be cited accordingly, and the correct metrics to use for the impact of a research contribution or researcher are article-level citations and Altmetrics.
What is the stance of JMIR Publications on IFs?
At JMIR Publications, we view the usage of IFs as a proxy metric as having major flaws and pitfalls. We note that the journal IF assesses the journal, not a specific article. Also, the process for indexing new and emerging journals with Clarivate is extremely slow. It can take many years for a new journal in an emerging field (in our case, digital health) to become indexed. Evaluation comments can sometimes be non-transparent and non-reproducible. We discourage reliance on such a non-transparent procedure to assess students and faculty in academia.
- What is an Impact Factor?
- What is an Impact Factor? What is JMIR's Impact Factor?
- What is the Impact Factor of JMIR Serious Games?
- What is the Impact Factor of JMIR mHealth and uHealth?
- What is the Impact Factor of JMIR Medical Informatics?
- What is the Impact Factor of JMIR Mental Health?
- What is the Impact Factor of JMIR Public Health and Surveillance?
- What is the Impact Factor of your sister journal XY? Can I use the same Impact Factor as J Med Internet Res to advertise the importance of my work?
- What is the Impact Factor of JMIR Research Protocols?
- Why has my article been transferred to another journal (or a transfer has been suggested), and what are my options?
See also (external links):
- The Misused Impact Factor. Science http://science.sciencemag.org/content/322/5899/165.full
- Just say no to impact factors (The Guardian)
- Leiden Manifesto