Research Writing

What is Impact Factor/bibliometric indicators/calculation

To begin with, the Impact Factor is a bibliometric indicator responsible for evaluating the importance of scientific publications based on the number of citations they receive.

But how does he do it? It’s simpler than it looks!

In practice, it is a calculation that results in the average number of citations that articles receive in a given journal.

But it is not assigned to all scientific journals. In fact, it is only intended for journals indexed in the Web of Science .

In other words, some journals are “stored” in databases, such as the Web of Science, and have their bibliographic data and citations quantified. Afterwards, all this is accounted for with a score, in this case, the Impact Factor.

Finally, this result is attached to the Journal Citation Report (JCR), an annual publication by Clarivate Analytics, an authority on scientific citations and reviews.

What are bibliometric indicators?

Yet another term that can cause some confusion is the “bibliometric indicator”. After all, why is the Impact Factor called an indicator?

It is as follows: bibliometric indicators are metrics that assess the performance of scientific productions based on the number of citations they receive, as well as the Impact Factor. But there are many others!

For Brazilian researchers, the most frequently cited are: the Cite Score, the Impact Factor and the h5 Index, as these are used in the calculation to define the Qualis Capes of journals. And let’s talk about them now!

As you already know, there are several bibliometric indicators linked to different indexing bases.

And, in the case of the Impact Factor, it is only counted among the journals that are indexed in the Web of Science.

Now, for a journal to be included in this bibliographic database, it must be submitted and evaluated with several criteria and screenings.

Initially, it will be necessary for the journal to have:

  • ISSN;
  • Title;
  • Publishing company;
  • URL (online journals);
  • Access to content;
  • Presence of a peer review policy.

That’s why ISSN is so important for serials! And getting it from Even3 is super quick and simple. Know more:

Once the criteria are met and the journal is already indexed in the Web of Science, the calculation is done as follows:

The number of citations received in the year in which the Impact Factor was calculated is divided by the number of articles published in the two years prior to the calculation, which is called a biennium.

For example, in 2021, the calculation of the Impact Factor of a journal whose articles published in it received 1,000 citations in that same year will be 1,000 divided by the number of citations it received in the previous biennium, that is, 2019-2020.

In this case, let’s say that between 2019-2020 the journal received 900 citations. Therefore, your Impact Factor will be: 1000/900 = 1.11

You don’t have to worry about doing all that calculation! This is because it is possible to consult the Impact Factor of a journal in the Journal Citation Reports (JCR) database.

It turns out that, as access to this database is not free, some universities provide an access route for their students. So look for your coordination to learn more about it!

In general, public institutions have authorized access to the paid version of Capes Periódicos , which stores data from the indexing databases. Typically, login instructions are also provided by your coordination.

Then, with access to Capes Periodico, it will be possible to search the JCR database.

There, you will be able to create your login and password to save and share documents.

Finally, it is no longer necessary to create a confusion between the terms. Ufa!

Now that you already know a bibliometric indicator, how about knowing a little more about other common indicators in the academic area in Brazil?

You will likely still hear a lot about CiteScore and the h5 Index .

They both also refer to the number of citations received by journals, but in different indexing bases. The Cite Score is from Scopus and the h5 Index is from Google Scholar.

Thus, these are very important indices to measure the relevance of journals in their areas of knowledge.

Therefore, they are also used when calculating the famous Qualis Capes from magazines.

In practice, what happens is that articles published by Brazilian researchers are indexed in the databases and Capes uses this information to calculate the Qualis.

But beware: not all journals are indexed and most databases, such as Scopus, require papers to have a DOI or an ISSN .

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