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Understanding the Journal Impact Factor

by ‎09-09-2009 04:06 PM - edited ‎06-06-2012 02:15 PM

Over the years, Thomson Reuters employees have answered thousands of questions about the Journal Impact Factor, how it is calculated, what does it mean, how are the data prepared. We are continuing to broaden our efforts to maintain open and cooperative communication with scholars, publishers and librarians to support the proper use of the Journal Impact Factor. The September 9, 2009 issue of JAMA-Journal of the American Medical Association contains a Commentary prepared by members of Thomson Reuters Journal Citation Reports team. This writing describes in detail the determination of citable items (the denominator of the Journal Impact Factor calculation), and how the distinction between citable and non-citable items affects the Journal Impact Factor.

The first 150 words of the article can be viewed at the following link.  Access to the full text is available to JAMA subscribers.


UPDATE:  JAMA-Archives has made this item freely available - subscription is no longer required. 

on ‎09-10-2009 10:16 AM
If you want open and cooperative communication with scholars, publishers and librarians to support the proper use of the Journal Impact Factor then why publish this article in a subscription journal? Put it on your website!
on ‎09-10-2009 04:40 PM

As with any publication, placement was a matter of much discussion.  Because we were presenting data and analysis, we wanted to submit the item for formal peer review.  The medical literature has sustained an intense discussion of the role of "non-citable" items in the Journal Impact Factor, so we wanted a venue that would put the data in front of an audience with a particular interest in the subject.  Finally, JAMA has a long record of publishing studies and commentaries in what they call "journalology" (bibliometrics, performance metrics of many sorts, general matters affecting scientific and medical publishing, and etc.).  This made it a good fit for both the subject and the audience.  We were very excited to have the item accepted. 


We intend to follow-up with other essays and information on the Thomson Reuters site regarding the construction and use of the Journal Impact Factor and other JCR data.  The Thomson Reuters website has a lot of materials already available:

on ‎09-19-2009 08:53 PM

Hi there,


Just finished reading the JAMA article - succinct and well written, an excellent summary.


Hat tip -there's a great site new site using the recent journal impact factors to great effect called Clinical Reader - 


Keep up the good work 

on ‎09-29-2009 05:12 PM

Another interesting article on the Impact Factor, its role and uses can be found here --



on ‎04-03-2014 01:50 PM

please anyone guide me about impact factor,what is impact factor?,when we make the literature review,why we use the impact factore, W,X please guid me. 

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