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Scientific journals foster the progress of science by publishing new research findings. However, there are thousands of such journals in publication and their quality differs. Therefore institutions, authors, readers and librarians need a reliable guideline to choose the right scientific journals to read, cite and stock in libraries.

Authors also need to know which is the most authoritative journal to publish their paper in. Funding bodies also require a trusted measurement in order to shortlist applicants with the most impressive publications for their research grants.

The pandemic has created severe challenges for scientists wanting to share their research findings, especially Covid-19 researchers. Journals have stepped up to the plate by processing manuscripts as fast as possible, encouraging their peer reviewers to work quickly and creating new pools of scientists to prioritise coronavirus research, many making this research free to read. This has led to a rise in popularity of Open Access publishing models. Again, the quality of Open Access journals varies, so it is even more imperative to ensure the high ranking of a journal and avoid poor quality publications by predatory publishers

What is the Impact Factor?

The Impact Factor (IF) is the oldest, most renowned and extensively used citation metrics, which assess an scientific journal’s importance and relevance to the academic community. IF is calculated by Clarivate  and essentially measures how often articles in a journal are cited. The more the articles are cited, the higher the Impact Factor. In practical terms, the Impact Factor reflects the quality of a scientific journal and its popularity measured by the number of cited articles, which accounts for the reputation the publication has among the scientific community.

In June each year, the Web of Science Group, part of Clarivate, releases the annual Journal Citation Report (JCR). The JRC compiles citation-based journal metrics, which disclose the performance of scientific journals, in terms of their value within the academic community and their potential to communicate research findings to the largest audiences. This enables scholarly researchers, publishers, editors, librarians and funders to make confident decisions on which academic publications to consider stocking in the institutional libraries, which publications to cite or where to publish their manuscripts. Compiled by an international team of experts, this year’s JRC includes all the journal titles that have obtained the IF 2019.

The 2020 JRC includes over 12,000 journals, comprising 1600 open-access journals, from 83 countries across the world, spanning 236 research categories in sciences and social sciences. New additions include 351 journals, of which 178 are fully Open Access. Scientific journals are reviewed every year and titles that do not meet the required high standards are suppressed.

Across all the Sciendo’s indexed journals, the Impact Factor has increased on average 18% in the last year, with 11 journals improving by more than 20%. Among these journals, the best performer was Folia Horticulturae, which improved its Impact Factor by 245% and is a top ranked journal in Horticulture. Star performers in their discipline include: Annals of Animal ScienceAutex Research Journal and Moravian Geographical Reports.

How Sciendo can help you get and grow your scientific journal’s Impact Factor

If you choose to publish your scientific journal with us, our Abstracting and Indexing (A&I) specialists will help you get and increase your journal’s Impact Factor by:

  • Carefully analysing your scientific journal to see how it complies with Clarivate’s selection criteria.
  • Advising on actions required to ensure your journal meets the criteria, if your publication is not ready yet.

When your journal has been approved by Clarivate, our A&I experts will continue supporting editors in order to:

  • Grow coverage by Clarivate products.
  • Increase citations and Impact Factor.

Examples of selection criteria your journal needs to meet to get an Impact Factor are:

  • Publishing standards – your scientific journal must be published timely, according to an established frequency and follow recognised, international editorial standards and conventions.
  • Diversity – authors, editors and editorial advisory members should be from around the world and from different institutions so the journal can offer a balanced coverage of the topic it covers. Information about them should be presented in a clear manner.
  • Editorial content – your scientific journal must have unique characteristics that distinguish it from other publications in the field. If a category is well covered, the journal might be rejected.Peer review – the process has to be transparent and ethical.
  • Citations – scientific journals should have a good level of citations and self-citations should not be excessive.

This article is intended as a helpful overview of the importance of the journal Impact Factor. For more in-depth information, please contact a member of our team.