Impact Factor Distortions

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Science  17 May 2013:
Vol. 340, Issue 6134, pp. 787
DOI: 10.1126/science.1240319

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  • RE: Normalization by different disciplines is a better solution to the misusing of Journal Impact Factor
    • Erlong Wang, Sichuan Agricultural University
    • Other Contributors:
      • Kaiyu Wang, Sichuan Agricultural University

    Just past June is the season of happiness and sadness to publishers, journal editors or researchers because of the annual release of Journal Impact Factor (JIF), which are calculated based on the Web of Science database and published in the Journal Citation Reports (JCR) by Clarivate Analytics. As we have seen, the JIF dominance had caused unabated influence on research ecosystem nowadays. Along with the fact that the resale of Web of Science from Thomson Reuters to Clarivate Analytics in October, 2016, many prestigious journals and publishers including Springer Nature, ASM journals, EMBO journals, BMC journals delivered their opinions and suggestions immediately, like the alternatives of median, h-index and Relative Citation Ratio, and CAPCI factor, which pushed the critique wave of JIF into the culmination.
    However, taking these measures still not address the fundamental problem that the diversity in citation characteristics among different disciplines. In our opinion, it maybe a better solution that normalizing the JIF by different disciplines. Simply, the journals should be grouped and be granular down to second-rate disciplines firstly, then calculate the mean of the IF of all journals in this second-rate disciplines, and divided the absolute JIF of a journal by the above mean value to obtain the normalized JIF (nJIF) of this journal. In this way, not only the bug that assessing the journal in different disciplines using JIF will be amended, but also the com...

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    Competing Interests: None declared.

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