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The impact factor The impact factor of a journal is the average number of times in a specific year the articles published by the journal in the previous two years were cited. It is calculated by dividing the number of citations in the present year of articles published in the previous two years by the total number of articles published during the said two years. Here is an example of how the formula is applied: Citations in 2004 of articles published in 2002 and 2003 / Total number of articles published in 2002 and 2003 = Impact factor 2004 It is the most commonly used bibliometric index. It helps assess the relative importance of a journal, especially when it is compared with others in the same field. It is not a tool for assessing articles individually (and, therefore, authors): to do that, we have the Arts & Humanities Index, Science Citation Index Expanded and Social Sciences Citation Index databases (all three of which belong to the Institute for Scientific Information), or Google Scholar. Among other options, these databases show the number of times a certain article has been cited.

Who calculates the impact factor The Institute for Scientific Information publishes the impact factor of many journals by means of Journal Citation Reports (JCR). There are two editions of the JCR: Science and Social Sciences. The number of journals analysed is huge (more than 7000 titles), but there are few journals in languages other than English and there are no journals from other fields (e.g. humanities). The JCR impact factor is currently requested by the Ministry of Education and Science. In Spain, there have been similar initiatives, which have been financed by the Ministry of Education and Science: Potential Impact Factor of Spanish Medical Journals for Spanish biomedical journals. This is prepared by the L贸pez Pi帽ero Institute of History of Science and Documentation. IN-RECS (Impact Index of Spanish Social Sciences Journals), for social science journals published in Spain. It is prepared by the Department of Biblioteconomy and Documentation of the University of Granada. RESH (Spanish Human and Social Science Journals: integrated assessment and citation index) for Spanish humanities and social science journals. It is prepared by the Centre for Scientific Documentation and Information (CINDOC), an organisation belonging to the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC).

The quartile If the list of journals in order of impact factor from highest to lowest is divided into four equal parts, each part is referred to as a quartile. The journals with the highest impact factor appear in the first quartile, the middle quartiles will be the second and third and the lowest quartile is the fourth. E.g. in a list of 100 titles, the first quartile will be the first 25 titles and they will be the ones considered most highly by researchers. In the JCR, you have to look at the total number of titles in the desired list, divide it by 4 and find which quartile the magazine we are looking for is in. In the IN-RECS, the lists are already separated into quartiles.

How to find the impact factor of a journal JCR:

Go to JCR

specific title IN-RECS:

Choose the edition and year

Select a group of journals or a

View the impact factor Go to IN-RECS

Select the subject

Go to Journal Citation Reports Journal Citation Reports can be found on Virtual Library, Access to English Menu, Electronic Resources, Business, Academic Journals and ISI Web of Knowledge.

Choose the edition and year Choose the edition: JCR Science Edition or JCR Social Sciences Edition

Select the year for which you want to view the impact factor. The earliest available online is 1997. Earlier years of the JCR Social Sciences Edition are available on CD-ROM.

Select a group of journals or a specific title To find journals on a specific subject, check View a group of journals by Subject Category and select the subject. To find a specific title, check Search for a specific journal. Then click on Submit.

View the impact factor

The lists of titles can be ordered by different criteria: alphabetical order, impact factor (highest to lowest), etc. The titles are displayed in their abbreviated format. To view the full title, simply click on the abbreviated format. Example:

Go to IN-RECS IN-RECS can be found on the alphabetical list of databases.

Select the subject Simply select the subject and the list of journals is displayed in order of impact factor.

Further information - dalt About quality indicators: • DICE