Measuring the quality of journals and journal articles: the impact factor tells but a portion of the story

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Much emphasis has been placed on the IMPACT FACTOR, a measure of journal article citation rates used as a surrogate marker of both journal and article quality. There is little doubt that the impact factor is an important audit of journal article usage, as it in essence provides a measure of the level of peer attention being given to articles within journals and (by extrapolation) of the level of attention being given to the journal containing those articles. However, the impact factor has its limitations and only tells a very small fraction of the overall story regarding the utility of journals and the articles within them. In addition, the impact factor can be easily manipulated. The current article includes a brief review of the current and past uses and abuses of the impact factor and describes some of its strengths and limitations. In addition, a review of past publications, primarily from this journal, has been undertaken to help show the potential use of alternative measures of journal utility, such as Internet-based journal sessions and article downloads. The evaluation of previously published articles also helps serve to illustrate, by example, some of the limitations to the use of the impact factor as the sole determinant of a journal's "quality."

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-25
Number of pages19
JournalSeminars in Thrombosis and Hemostasis
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2008


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