Guest post: improving impact factors

International Librarians Network

Today’s post comes from our Country Ambassador for China, Dave Lyons. We know many academic librarians will have something to add to this discussion, it’s certainly a hot topic at our University Library here in Sydney.

After completing his MLS in 1954, Eugene Garfield started his own consultancy which later became the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI). In 1964, ISI began publishing the Science Citation Index (SCI), and impact factor was born.
Impact factor is a relatively simple formula: the number of citations of articles in journal X by other journals ÷ the total number of articles in journal X over the past two years (there is also a five-year version)Around June, Thomson Reuters (which acquired ISI in 1992), will release its Journal Citation Reports (JCR) containing 2014 impact factors calculated using citation data for 2012-2013.
In the past 60 years, impact factor has grown in importance…

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