The impact factor (IF) of a journal (in this case academic and research journals) is a measure that reflects the average number of citations of that particular journal to recent articles published in other journals including science and social sciences journal.
Impact factor is frequently used to measure the relative importance of a journal within its field. For example, the impact factor of a journal named “MicroDok Research Journal” can be used to ascertain the relevance and ratings of “MicroDok Research Journal” within the field of microbiology only. This is because “MicroDok Research Journal” only covers articles in the field of microbiology including virology, bacteriology, algology, and mycology. The impact factor of “MicroDok Research Journal” cannot be used to access or ascertain the relevance and academic ratings of articles published in other journals outside the field of microbiology.
Journals with high impact factor are usually deemed to be more important than those with lower impact factor. For example, a journal with an impact factor of 0.5 will be rated less, compared to a journal with an impact factor that is above 5.0. Even though impact factor may not truly showcase or buttress the academic and/or research importance of a journal; impact factor is one of the most important features that researchers and those in the academia often look out for when contemplating about which journal to publish their research findings.
Other important features of a good journal aside the impact factor include the journals ranking and/or the journals indexing. Journals ranked or indexed by well known and academically accepted ranking organizations such as Thomson Reuters and SCOPUS are often highly rated than journals without a ranking or indexing. Index Copernicus is also another ranking platform that is also good and is recognized by researchers and academicians across the globe as a platform for indexing journal. PUBMED is another world-class indexing platform for good journals.
When next you want to publish your article; always make sure that you ascertain the journals impact factor and ranking beforehand. This will help you to make sure that your work was well peer reviewed before being published. More so, it will help your publication to gain a wide readership and recognition in the research and academic environment. Such a move can bring your work to the doorsteps of researchers in other countries who may want to collaborate with you; and provide the necessary logistics, facilities and finance that you require for the next stage of your work.
For postdoctoral fellows; publishing in good impact factor journals and ranked journals can also help you to win some points before the review panel; and this will help you to be ahead of your contemporaries in the search for a postdoctoral fellowship positions. Nowadays, postdoctoral reviewers now demand that prospective postdoctoral fellows have one or two publication in impact factor journals and ranked journals. And this is because there are a number of predatory journals on the internet – who prey on the innocence of first time publishers and people who want to publish by all means. These predatory journals collect money and publish the work of unsuspecting authors in irrelevant journals.
Predatory journals are exploitative open-access academic publishing business model that involves charging publication fees to authors without providing the editorial and publishing services associated with legitimate journals.
SEE THE NEXT TAB ON THIS WEBSITE FOR A LIST OF THE PREDATORY JOURNALS. We may have fallen a victim of predatory journals at one point in time during our quest to get our data and research work published. However, this write up is just to serve as a guide to help you be on the look out for predatory journals, in order to avoid falling a victim to them again.
As an academic, researcher or postdoctoral fellow; publishing your work in impact factor journals and ranked journals helps to increase your prestige and relevance to other like minds in your area. Publish wisely; don’t always be in a hurry to publish. Take your time and do a good search before publishing.
Gone are the days when you just throw your data and research findings into any journals that just come into your mind. I know you don’t want all the effort and resources that went into the study to go in vain. And this is why you must deem it necessary to always look out for the impact factor and ranking of a particular journal before you send out your work for publication.
CALCULATION OF IMPACT FACTOR
Most journals have their impact factor on their website. However, some journals still do not put the impact factor of their journals on their online portal. Nonetheless, good journals like Nature, Science and New England Journal of Medicine to mention a few, may not necessarily have their impact factor for everyone to see. But such journals are highly rated and ranked that you do not need to worry. Just by doing a simple search on Google, you can quickly access and tell the impact factor of a journal. For ranking, you can visit the website of SCOPUS and search for a journal of your interest. If the journal is not found on Scopus, then the journal is not ranked by Scopus. This applies only if you want to publish in a SCOPUS ranked journal.
The following example can help you to calculate the impact factor of a journal.
In a given year, the impact factor of a journal is the average number of citations received per paper published in that journal during the two preceding years. For example, if a journal has an impact factor of 3 in 2009, then its articles or papers published in 2007 and 2008 (which are the two preceding years to 2009) received 3 citations each on average in 2009.
However, it is noteworthy that the impact factor of a journal is actually published in the following year, and not the year under review. For the 2009 journal exemplified above, its impact factor will be published in 2010. The impact journal of this journal cannot be fully calculated and ascertained until all the 2009 publications in the journal have been fully processed by the indexing agency or institution.
New journals which are indexed from their very first published issue, usually will receive their impact factor after two years of their indexing.