Answered By: Van Pelt Librarian
Last Updated: Aug 28, 2015     Views: 49

The journal impact factor is a measure of the frequency with which the "average article" in a journal has been cited in a particular year. The impact factor will help you evaluate a journal's relative importance, especially when you compare it to others in the same field.

For example, the 2012 impact factor is all citations to articles published in that journal during 2010/2011 divided by the number of articles published in that journal during 2010/2011.

So if there were 1000 citations for 100 articles published in a journal in 2010/2011, the impact factor would be 10. The higher the impact factor the more 'impact' the journal is considered to have in its field.

To search for the impact factor of a specific journal, use the InCites Journal Citation Reports (JCR) database.

For more in-depth information about impact factor and other metrics, see the  Research Impact and Citation Analysis guide. 


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