Size matters! Association between journal size and longitudinal variability of the Journal Impact Factor

Autoři: Dorothea Koelblinger aff001;  Georg Zimmermann aff002;  Silke B. Weineck aff001;  Tobias Kiesslich aff005
Působiště autorů: Research Office, Paracelsus Medical University, Salzburg, Austria aff001;  Department of Neurology, Spinal Cord Injury and Tissue Regeneration Center Salzburg, Paracelsus Medical University, Salzburg, Austria aff002;  Department of Neurology, Christian Doppler Medical Centre, Paracelsus Medical University, Salzburg, Austria aff003;  Department of Mathematics, Paris-Lodron University of Salzburg, Salzburg, Austria aff004;  Institute for Physiology and Pathophysiology, Paracelsus Medical University, Salzburg, Austria aff005;  Department of Internal Medicine I, Paracelsus Medical University / Salzburger Landeskliniken, Salzburg, Austria aff006
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(11)
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0225360


Analyses of the Journal Impact Factor (JIF) have grown to be a major topic in scientometric literature. Despite widespread and justified critique concerning the JIF and its application, the size of a journal as a predictor for its longitudinal variability–or stability–on a long-term level has not yet comprehensively been analyzed. This study aims to provide robust evidence for an association between JIF variability and the size of journals, expressed by the number of published articles (citable items). For this purpose, the complete set of journals included in the Incite Journal Citation Reports (JCR) with an JIF in the 2017 JCR edition (n = 8750) were analyzed for the association between journal size and longitudinal JIF dynamics. Our results, based on n = 4792 journals with a complete JIF data set over the timespan of 12 annual JIF changes show that larger journals publishing more citable items experience smaller annual changes of the JIF than smaller journals, yet with this association being reversed for journals with a very large number of total cites. Consequently and in accordance with the genuine intention of the JIF to serve as a basis for decisions on journal subscriptions, evaluation of current changes of the JIF have to be accompanied by consideration of the journal’s size in order to be accurate and sensible.

Klíčová slova:

Advertising – Arithmetic – Bibliometrics – Citation analysis – Libraries – Scientific publishing – Librarians


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Článek vyšel v časopise


2019 Číslo 11