Saturday, 21 June 2008

Journal Citation Reports and Aggregate Impact Factors

This post responds to a comment on the posts on Journal Citation Reports [JCR] and Impact Factors [IFs] to provide some current data that illustrates the information provided by JCR.

The JCR provides data on individual journal titles, for example IFs. JCR also provides the same information for whole subject categories. These subjects are pre-determined by JCR and reflect a traditional view of academic disciplines. Measures include Aggregate Impact Factors [AIFs]. AFIs use the same formula as IFs - the sum of cites to articles published in journals in a given subject category in the previous two years, divided into the sum of articles published in journals in that subject category in the previous two years.

To use a worked example: Computer Science: Software Engineering has an AIF of 0.913. This is calculated by the sum of cites over the previous 2 years (2005=5767 + 2006=3596) divided into the sum of the number of articles published over the previous 2 years (2006=5248 + 2005=5006).

Total cites 9363 = 0.913
Total arts. 10254

The following roughly match areas from the BU curricula:

Business - 1.205
Business, Finance -0.834
Communication - 0.892
Computer Science: Software Engineering - 0.913
Food Science and Technology - 1.583
Health Policy and Services - 1.876
Health Care Science and Services - 1.809
Hospitality, Leisure, Sport and Tourism - 0,898
Information Science and Library Science - 1.026
Law - 1.228
Management - 1.335
Nusing (Science) - 1.031
Nursing (Social Science)- 1.023
Psychology - 2.386
Social Work - 0.746

The AIF in effect tells us on average how many times a recently published article will be cited. It also provides an indication of the Impact Factor for journals in any subject category. Note also that in many subjects in the social sciences only c 1 in 6 journals will register an IF at all.

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