Friday, 15 February 2008

Journals with Impact Factors - how representative are they of the scholarly literature?

How representative are journals titles with Impact Factors compared to all academic journals in a given area of study.

The following is a quick and simple comparison for Management which I think gives some idea.

  • The ISI Journal Citation Reports lists 79 journal titles with Impact Factors under the subject heading Management;
  • Ulrich's Periodicals Directory lists 494 under the subject heading Management which are also refereed academic/scholarly journals;
  • 57 of the titles included in the ISI Journal Citation Reports are also included in the 494 journal titles identified by Ulrich's – so there is some basis for comparing the two data sets.

Using a very rough and ready calculation comparing the two sets of data - 79/494 - there are 6 refereed academic Management journals for every Management title that has an Impact Factor.

A similar exercise for Nursing gives a similar result.

  • The ISI Journal Citation Reports lists 32 journal titles with Impact Factors under the subject heading Nusing;
  • Ulrich's Periodicals Directory lists 213 under the subject heading Medical Sciences - Nurses and Nursing which are also refereed academic/scholarly journals;
  • All the titles included in the ISI Journal Citation Reports are also included in the 213 journal titles identified by Ulrich's – so there is a strong basis for comparing the two data sets.

Using the same rough calculation comparing the two sets of data - 32/213 - there are 6.6 (or 7 rounded up) refereed academic Nursing journals for every Nursing title that has an Impact Factor.

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