Major Change in Journal Impact Factors

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What does it mean?

Clarivate Plc, a publicly-traded for-profit analytics company with annual revenues of $1.254 billion U.S. Dollars, has released the 2023 update for Journal Citation Reports, a resource that reports an often-sought-after metric called the Journal Impact Factor (JIF).

In the press release announcing the 2023 update, Clarivate announced that this year’s JIF will be released with only one decimal point, rather than the three used in the past. The Vice President of Web of Science and Clarivate, Dr. Nandita Quaderi, marks this change among those made to “redefine trust and impact” for the JIF. “This move to one decimal place will introduce more ties, which we hope will encourage users to consider additional indicators and descriptive data when comparing journals – fostering a more holistic understanding of a journal’s influence and impact,” Quaderi says in her statement.

JIF data for individual journals is used regularly by academic libraries as a factor in selection decisions for collections. Faculty researchers use JIF (and other “impact factor” metrics) as a consideration in where to publish their research. College and university departments often include JIF criteria of publications in their assessment of candidates for promotion and tenure.

At UMKC Libraries we understand that decisions on where to publish and methods to assess research quality and impact weigh heavily on research faculty and administration. That said, we also believe that reducing any strong reliance on metrics like JIF as a sole or determining criteria of journal selection or assessment of faculty research quality allows a more nuanced and meaningful decision process. You can always meet with a librarian about your concerns – we are here to listen and provide insight into changes in the scholarly communication landscape!

Image: boundjournals by Michele Spomer. (CC BY-NC 2.0)

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