The 2021 Journal Citation Reports (Clarivate Analytics, 2022) were recently published, and there was a change in this year’s Impact Factor calculations.
Impact Factor: a quick refresher
To review: a journal’s Impact Factor is a ratio of the total number of citations a journal receives in a given year (which is the numerator in the calculation), divided by the total number of citable items published in the two previous years (which is the denominator). So, the 2021 Impact Factors are the number of citations a journal received in 2021 divided by the number of citable articles published in the journal in 2019 and 2020.
The change for 2022 and the impact on authors
The change in this year’s Impact Factors is that Early Access content is now included in the count of a journal’s citable items (the denominator). With many scholarly publishers posting “Published Ahead-of-Print” content, some worry that a larger denominator could cause a drop in a journal’s Impact Factor. The big question is what does this mean for you as an author?
It’s true that Impact Factor is weighed by many authors when deciding where to submit a paper, but rarely is it the only thing considered. In addition to looking at the current Impact Factor, it is worth looking at the five-year trend in a journal’s Impact Factor to determine whether the current Impact Factor is part of a trend — or an anomaly.
So, when choosing a destination for your next manuscript, a journal’s Impact Factor is worth considering, but look at multiple factors for a more fully informed decision. Good luck in your publishing endeavors!
Clarivate Analytics: “Journal Citation Reports 2022: A preview”