Impact Factor of Journals

Impact Factor or Journal Impact Factor (JIF) is a metric used to evaluate the relative importance of a journal within its field. It was first introduced in the 1960s by Eugene Garfield.

Founder of Impact Factor – Eugene Garfield

He also founded the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI), Science Citation Index (SCI), and the Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), which are widely used in the academic community to track the impact of scholarly research.

Impact Factor is published annually by Clarivate Analytics in the Journal Citation Reports (JCR) database.

How to calculate Impact Factor

The impact factor is calculated by dividing the number of citations received by a journal in a given year to the number of articles published in that journal in the previous two years.

The formula for calculating the impact factor is:

Impact Factor = (Citations in Year Y) / (Number of articles published in Years X and Y-1)

For example, if a journal had 100 citations in year Y and published 50 articles in years X and Y-1, the impact factor for that year would be 2.0 (100/50).

It is important to note that the impact factor is calculated annually, and it is based on the number of citations received in the current year, divided by the number of articles published in the journal in the previous two years.

How to find Impact Factor

There are several ways to find the impact factor of a journal:

  1. Journal Citation Reports (JCR) – Subscription Required: To find the JIF of a specific journal, you can search for the journal title on the JCR website, or you can use the JCR search function to filter journals by subject category, publisher, or other criteria. JCR is a database provided by Clarivate Analytics that allows users to search for journals by title and subject area, and it provides the impact factor for each journal, as well as other metrics such as the Eigenfactor and the Citescore.
  2. Web of Science – Subscription Required: This is another database provided by Clarivate Analytics that allows users to search for journals and articles, and it provides the impact factor for the journals.

3. Finding Impact Factor from JCR Reports available online : Each JCR report provides detailed information on a specific journal, including:

  • Journal Impact Factor (JIF)
  • Eigenfactor: This metric is based on the number of times articles from a journal are cited in other journals, and also takes into account the prestige of the journals doing the citing.
  • 5-Year Impact Factor: This metric is similar to the JIF, but it is based on citations over a five-year period.
  • Article Influence: This metric is a measure of the average influence of articles published in a journal, based on the Eigenfactor score.
  • Cited by Count: This metric shows the number of articles that have been cited articles published in the journal.

The JCR report also provides information on the journal’s publisher, ISSN, subject category, and other bibliographic data.

Processed JCR reports are widely available online in the form of PDF, Excel files, and Word documents. A few of them are mentioned below

JCR 2021 – Published in June 2022

JCR 2020 – Published in June 2021

JCR 2019 – Published in June 2020

You can search the impact factor of journals from these JCR reports on the above page using the Ctrl+F option. You can also download the PDF and Excel files available for personal use.

Limitations of Impact Factor

There are several limitations of the impact factor as a measure of journal quality:

  1. Time lag: The impact factor is based on citations received in a given year, but it does not take into account the time lag between when an article is published and when it is cited. This means that articles that are published early in the year may not be included in the calculation of the impact factor, even if they eventually receive a high number of citations.
  2. Self-citation bias: The impact factor counts all citations, including self-citations, which can artificially inflate the impact factor of a journal.
  3. Disciplinary bias: The impact factor is calculated based on the number of articles published in a journal and the number of citations received, but different fields have different citation patterns. For example, journals in the natural sciences tend to have higher impact factors than journals in the social sciences or humanities, even though this does not necessarily reflect the importance of the research in these fields.
  4. Does not take into account the diversity of content: The impact factor does not take into account the diversity of content within a journal. It does not differentiate between papers, review papers, letters, etc.
  5. Does not account for the alternative metrics: The impact factor is a citation-based metric, but it does not account for other types of impact, such as social media shares, downloads, views, etc. Alternative metrics like Altmetrics are used to measure the impact of a paper in a more comprehensive way.

Due to these limitations, it is important to use the impact factor in conjunction with other metrics and to consider the specific context and characteristics of a journal or research field when evaluating its quality.

Alternative to Impact Factor

Although Impact Factor is one of the widely used journal metrics, it has several limitations and there are alternative metrics that have been developed to address these limitations. Some examples include:

  • CiteScore: This is a metric provided by Elsevier that takes into account the number of citations received by a journal over a three-year period, as well as the number of documents published in the journal over the same period.
  • SNIP (Source Normalized Impact per Paper): This metric is provided by CWTS Leiden Ranking, it aims to correct for differences in citation practices between fields and takes into account the number of citations received by a journal, as well as the number of documents published in the journal, and the number of citations received by the documents in the same subject area.
  • Eigenfactor: This metric is provided by Eigenfactor, it uses a complex algorithm that takes into account the number of citations received by a journal, as well as the number of citations received by the documents that cite the journal.
  • h-index: This is a metric that measures the productivity and impact of a researcher or a journal by taking into account the number of papers that have been cited at least h times.
  • Altmetrics: This is a set of metrics that aim to measure the impact and influence of scholarly articles in ways that go beyond traditional citation counts. They include metrics such as social media mentions, blog posts, and news articles that mention an article.

Alternative to JCR

Several alternatives to the JCR are used to evaluate the impact and influence of scholarly journals. Some examples include:

  • Scopus Journal Metrics: This is a tool provided by Elsevier that allows users to access journal metrics, including the CiteScore, SNIP, and IPP.
  • Web of Science Journal Impact Factor: This is a tool provided by Clarivate Analytics that allows users to access journal impact factors, including the Journal Impact Factor, Immediacy Index, and Eigenfactor.
  • Google Scholar Metrics: This is a tool provided by Google that allows users to access journal metrics, including the h-index and i10-index.
  • Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ): This is a directory of open-access journals that are peer-reviewed and indexed by various databases such as Scopus, PubMed, and JCR.
  • Publons: This is a platform for researchers to track, verify, and showcase their peer review and editorial contributions.

It’s worth noting that each of these tools have their own strengths and weaknesses, and it’s important to evaluate the metrics provided by different sources before making any conclusions about the quality or impact of a journal.

List of Journals with the highest Impact Factor

Sl. No.Journal NameJournal Impact Factor
1CA-A CANCER JOURNAL FOR CLINICIANS286.13
2LANCET202.731
3NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE176.079
4JAMA-JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION157.335
5NATURE REVIEWS MOLECULAR CELL BIOLOGY113.915
6NATURE REVIEWS DRUG DISCOVERY112.288
7NATURE REVIEWS IMMUNOLOGY108.555
8Lancet Respiratory Medicine102.642
9BMJ-British Medical Journal93.333
10NATURE MEDICINE87.241
11Lancet Microbe86.208
12World Psychiatry79.683
13NATURE REVIEWS MICROBIOLOGY78.297
14Lancet Psychiatry77.056
15Nature Reviews Materials76.679
16Nature Reviews Gastroenterology & Hepatology73.082
17Lancet Public Health72.427
18CHEMICAL REVIEWS72.087
19LANCET INFECTIOUS DISEASES71.421
20NATURE REVIEWS CANCER69.8
21NATURE69.504
22NATURE BIOTECHNOLOGY68.164
23Nature Energy67.439
24CELL66.85
25Nature Reviews Disease Primers65.038
26Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology65.011
27SCIENCE63.714
28CHEMICAL SOCIETY REVIEWS60.615
29LANCET NEUROLOGY59.935
30NATURE REVIEWS GENETICS59.581
31Psychological Science in the Public Interest56.2
32LANCET ONCOLOGY54.433
33ANNALS OF ONCOLOGY51.769
34ANNALS OF INTERNAL MEDICINE51.598
35JOURNAL OF CLINICAL ONCOLOGY50.717
36REVIEWS OF MODERN PHYSICS50.485
37CLINICAL MICROBIOLOGY REVIEWS50.129
38Nature Reviews Cardiology49.421
39PROGRESS IN MATERIALS SCIENCE48.165
40NATURE METHODS47.99
41NATURE MATERIALS47.656
42Nature Reviews Endocrinology47.564
43PHYSIOLOGICAL REVIEWS46.5
44CELL RESEARCH46.297
45Joule46.048
46Lancet Gastroenterology & Hepatology45.042
47Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology44.867
48Nature Reviews Neurology44.711
49JAMA Internal Medicine44.409
50IMMUNITY43.474
51Living Reviews in Relativity42.9
52Nature Reviews Nephrology42.439
53INTENSIVE CARE MEDICINE41.787
54Molecular Cancer41.444
55NATURE GENETICS41.307
56Nature Catalysis40.706
57Nature Nanotechnology40.523
58CIRCULATION39.918
59Nature Photonics39.728
60Energy & Environmental Science39.714
61JOURNAL OF TRAVEL MEDICINE39.194
62Lancet Global Health38.927
63NATURE REVIEWS NEUROSCIENCE38.755
64JOURNAL OF INFECTION38.637
65CANCER CELL38.585
66Cancer Discovery38.272
67Signal Transduction and Targeted Therapy38.104
68Cell Discovery38.079
69Lancet Child & Adolescent Health37.746
70Journal of Public Transportation37.667
71Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics37.226
72Nature Reviews Earth & Environment37.214
73Lancet Digital Health36.615
74MMWR Recommendations and Reports36.286
75Nature Reviews Physics36.273
76EUROPEAN HEART JOURNAL35.855
77ASTRONOMY AND ASTROPHYSICS REVIEW35.786
78Lancet Rheumatology35.482
79PROGRESS IN ENERGY AND COMBUSTION SCIENCE35.339
80MMWR-MORBIDITY AND MORTALITY WEEKLY REPORT35.301
81Military Medical Research34.915
82Nature Reviews Chemistry34.571
83GASTROENTEROLOGY33.883
84IEEE Communications Surveys and Tutorials33.84
85EUROPEAN RESPIRATORY JOURNAL33.795
86MATERIALS SCIENCE & ENGINEERING R-REPORTS33.667
87Nature Electronics33.255
88JAMA Oncology33.006
89Electrochemical Energy Reviews32.804
90Annual Review of Immunology32.481
91Annual Review of Pathology-Mechanisms of Disease32.35
92Nature Reviews Rheumatology32.286
93ADVANCED MATERIALS32.086
94GUT31.793
95Cell Metabolism31.373
96Cell Host & Microbe31.316
97PROGRESS IN POLYMER SCIENCE31.281
98NATURE IMMUNOLOGY31.25
99Nature Microbiology30.964
100Science Immunology30.63

Click here to download the above list of highest impact factor journals

Related Information

Download list (12,000+) of Journal Abbreviation

What is a good Impact Factor for a Journal

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