Answered By: Laurissa Gann
Last Updated: Aug 08, 2017     Views: 195562

Impact Factors are used to measure the importance of a journal by calculating the number of times selected articles are cited within the last few years.  The higher the impact factor, the more highly ranked the journal.  It is one tool you can use to compare journals in a subject category.

The Journal Citation Reports (JCR) database tracks all impact factors for 12,061 journals.  The table below shows the number and percentage of journals that were assigned impact factors ranging from 0 to 10+.  0nly 213 journal titles, or 2% of the journals tracked by JCR, have a 2016 impact factor of 10 or higher.  The top 5% of journals have impact factors approximately equal to or greater than 6 (553 journals or 4.6% of the journals tracked by JCR).  Approximately two-thirds of the journals tracked by JCR have a 2016 impact factor equal to or greater than 1.

 

Impact Factor

Number of Journals

Ranking (Top % of Journals)

10+

213

1.7%

9+

257

2.1%

8+

317

2.6%

7+

400

3.3%

6+

553

4.6%

5+

778

6.5%

4+

1251

10.4%

3+

2303

19.1%

2+

4388

36.4%

1+

8074

67.0%

0+

12061

100%

 

Impact Factors are useful, but they should not be the only consideration when judging quality.  Not all journals are tracked in the JCR database and, as a result, do not have impact factors.  New journals must wait until they have a record of citations before even being considered for inclusion.  The scientific worth of an individual article has nothing to do with the impact factor of a journal

Comments (1)

  1. In 2016, the NEJM says their impact factor is 59. Is this possible? Do journals have IF that are greater than 30 today?

    ... Response from the MD Anderson Librarian...

    Yes, the NEJM has a 2015 impact factor of 59.558. There are 25 journals tracked by Journal Citation Reports that have an impact factor of 30 or higher.
    by Yvette Schlussel on May 22, 2017.

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