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Impact FactorImpact Factor

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The journal Impact Factor is a certain type of mean citation rate, namely a synchronous one based on citations received in year y by papers published in the 2 previous years, i.e., y-1 and y-2.
Von Stefanie Haustein, Vincent Larivière im Buch Incentives and Performance (2015) im Text The Use of Bibliometrics for Assessing Research
Mathias BinswangerA measure which has become particularly popular is the so-called “Impact Factor” (Alberts 2013). Nowadays this factor is commonly used in order to assess the “quality” of a journal. The Impact Factor of a particular journal is a quotient where the numerator represents the number of citations of articles published in that particular journal during previous years (mostly over the last 2 years) in a series of selected journals in a given year. The denominator represents the total number of articles published in that journal within the same period of time. For example, if a journal has an Impact Factor of 1.5 in 2013, this tells us that papers published in this journal in 2011 and 2012 were cited 1.5 times on average in the selected journals in 2013.
Von Mathias Binswanger im Buch Incentives and Performance im Text How Nonsense Became Excellence (2015) auf Seite 26
Mathias BinswangerEin Maß, welches es den Zahlenfetischisten besonders angetan hat, ist der sogenannte Impact Faktor, der heute in großem Stil dazu verwendet wird, die „Qualität“ von Zeitschriften zu berechnen. Der Impact Faktor einer bestimmten Zeitschrift ist ein Quotient, bei dem im Zähler die Anzahl der Zitate in einer Reihe ausgewählter Zeitschriften angegeben ist, die in einem bestimmten Jahr auf Artikel entfielen, welche über einen Zeitraum (meist über die letzten zwei Jahre) in der Zeitschrift erschienen sind. Im Nenner steht die Gesamtzahl der innerhalb des gleichen Zeitraums in der Zeitschrift publizierten Artikel. Ist der Impact Faktor einer Zeitschrift im Jahre 2010 beispielsweise 1,5, dann bedeutet dies, dass ein in dieser Zeitschrift in den Jahren 2008 und 2009 erschienener Artikel im Jahre 2010 im Durchschnitt 1,5 mal zitiert wurde.
Von Mathias Binswanger im Buch Sinnlose Wettbewerbe (2010) im Text Beispiel Wissenschaft

iconBemerkungen

The problem with using the journal Impact Factors as an expected citation rate is that due to the underlying skewed distributions, it is neither a predictor nor good representative of actual document citations (Seglen 1997a; Moed 2002).
Von Stefanie Haustein, Vincent Larivière im Buch Incentives and Performance (2015) im Text The Use of Bibliometrics for Assessing Research
The comparison of numbers of publications, citations and impact factors not only between disciplines but also between sub-disciplines does not make sense (Bornmann et al. 2008; Kieser 2012). Therefore, using citations or citation-based rankings as indicators for scholarly performance is highly problematic.
Von Margit Osterloh, Alfred Kieser im Buch Incentives and Performance (2015) im Text Double-Blind Peer Review
Due to its importance, the Impact Factor is probably the most misused and manipulated indicator. There are several ways how journal editors “optimize" the Impact Factor of their periodicals, a phenomenon referred to as the ‘numbers game’ (Rogers 2002), ‘Impact Factor game’ (The PLoS Medicine Editors 2006) or even ‘Impact Factor wars’ (Favaloro 2008).
Von Stefanie Haustein, Vincent Larivière im Buch Incentives and Performance (2015) im Text The Use of Bibliometrics for Assessing Research
In addition to being a mean citation rate, the Impact Factor has other limitations and shortcomings. It includes articles, reviews and notes as publication types while citations to all document types are considered, leading to an asymmetry between numerator and denominator (Moed and van Leeuwen 1995; Archambault and Larivie`re 2009). This asymmetry has led journal editors to “optimize” their journals’ publication behavior (see Sect. 4).
Von Stefanie Haustein, Vincent Larivière im Buch Incentives and Performance (2015) im Text The Use of Bibliometrics for Assessing Research
Bruno S. FreyDie relative Bedeutung einer wissenschaftlichen Zeitschrift, gemessen an der Häufigkeit, mit der diese Zeitschrift anderen Ortes zitiert wird, besagt nicht, dass die dort veröffentlichten Artikel diesem Durchschnitt entsprechen. Adler, Ewing & Taylor (2008:14) stellen denn auch in einem Gutachten für die „International Mathematical Union“ fest, dass die Verwendung von Impact-Faktoren zu grossen Fehlerwahrscheinlichkeiten führen kann und „atemberaubend naiv“ sei.
Von Margit Osterloh, Bruno S. Frey im Text Anreize im Wissenschaftssystem (2008)
Second, using impact factor as a proxy for the quality of an article published in a journal is very common, but leads to large error probabilities (Adler et al. 2008). The “extreme variability in article citedness permits the vast majority of articles— and journals themselves—to free-ride on a small number of highly cited articles” (Baum 2011, p. 449). Many top quality articles are published in non-top journals, and many articles in top journals generate very few citations (Campbell 2008; Kriegeskorte 2012; Laband and Tollison 2003; Oswald 2007; Singh et al. 2007; Starbuck 2005).
Von Margit Osterloh, Alfred Kieser im Buch Incentives and Performance (2015) im Text Double-Blind Peer Review
Mathias BinswangerThe Impact Factors used in science today are calculated annually by the American company Thomson Scientific and get published in the Journal Citation Reports. Thomson Scientific in fact became a monopolist in the calculation of impact factors, although the exact method of calculation is not revealed, which has been criticized repeatedly (see, e.g., Rossner et al. 2007). “Scientists have allowed Thomson Scientific to dominate them” (Winiwarter and Luhmann 2009, p. 1). This monopoly enables Thomson Scientific to sell its almost secretly fabricated Impact Factors to academic institutions at a high price, although in many sciences less than 50 % of today’s existing scientific journals are included in the calculation (Winiwarter and Luhmann 2009, p. 1).
Von Mathias Binswanger im Buch Incentives and Performance im Text How Nonsense Became Excellence (2015) auf Seite 26
Another shortcoming of the journal Impact Factor is its short citation windows, which goes back to convenience and cost-efficiency decisions made in the early days of the SCI (Martyn and Gilchrist 1968; Garfield 1972). Garfield (1972) found that the majority of citations are received within the first 2 years after publication. For some disciplines 2 years are not long enough to attract a significant number of citations, thus leading to large distortions (Moed 2005). Since its 2007 edition, the Journal Citation Report (JCR) includes a 5-year Impact Factor but the 2-year version remains the standard. The asymmetry between numerator and denominator, which was caused by computational limitations in the 1960s and could easily be solved by document-based citation matching, however, still exists.
Von Stefanie Haustein, Vincent Larivière im Buch Incentives and Performance (2015) im Text The Use of Bibliometrics for Assessing Research
Central to the introduction of bibliometrics in research evaluation was the creation of the Science Citation Index (SCI) in the 1960s, a citation database initially developed for the retrieval of scientific information. Embedded in this database was the Impact Factor, first used as a tool for the selection of journals to cover in the SCI, which then became a synonym for journal quality and academic prestige. Over the last 10 years, this indicator became powerful enough to influence researchers’ publication patterns in so far as it became one of the most important criteria to select a publication venue. Regardless of its many flaws as a journal metric and its inadequacy as a predictor of citations on the paper level, it became the go-to indicator of research quality and was used and misused by authors, editors, publishers and research policy makers alike.
Von Stefanie Haustein, Vincent Larivière im Buch Incentives and Performance (2015) im Text The Use of Bibliometrics for Assessing Research

iconVerwandte Objeke

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Verwandte Begriffe
(Cozitation)
Salamipublikationenleast publishable unit, Bibliometriebibliometry, PublikationsdruckPublish or Perish!, Peer review Prozess (wissenschaftlich), Aufgeblasene AutorenlistenHonorary Authorship

iconHäufig co-zitierte Personen

Hildegard Matthies Hildegard
Matthies
Margit Osterloh Margit
Osterloh
Dagmar Simon Dagmar
Simon
Bruno S. Frey Bruno S.
Frey
Derek de Solla Price Derek de Solla
Price
Mathias Binswanger Mathias
Binswanger

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iconErwähnungen Dies ist eine nach Erscheinungsjahr geordnete Liste aller im Biblionetz vorhandenen Werke, die das ausgewählte Thema behandeln.

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