Impact factor: A valid measure of journal quality?

Somnath (Som) Saha, Sanjay Saint, Dimitri A. Christakis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

364 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objectives: Impact factor, an index based on the frequency with which a journal's articles are cited in scientific publications, is a putative marker of journal quality. However, empiric studies on impact factor's validity as an indicator of quality are lacking. The authors assessed the validity of impact factor as a measure of quality for general medical journals by testing its association with journal quality as rated by clinical practitioners and researchers. Methods: We surveyed physicians specializing in internal medicine in the United States, randomly sampled from the American Medical Association's Physician Masterfile (practitioner group, n = 113) and from a list of graduates from a national postdoctoral training program in clinical and health services research (research group, n = 151). Respondents rated the quality of nine general medical journals, and we assessed the correlation between these ratings and the journals' impact factors. Results: The correlation between impact factor and physicians' ratings of journal quality was strong (r2 = 0.82, P = 0.001). The correlation was higher for the research group (r2 = 0.83, P = 0.001) than for the practitioner group (r2 = 0.62, P = 0.01). Conclusions: Impact factor may be a reasonable indicator of quality for general medical journals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)42-46
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the Medical Library Association
Volume91
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2003

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Physicians
physician
Journal Impact Factor
Group
rating
Health Services Research
empirics
American Medical Association
medical association
Internal Medicine
Research
Publications
training program
Research Personnel
health service
Education
graduate
medicine
Surveys and Questionnaires

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Library and Information Sciences

Cite this

Impact factor : A valid measure of journal quality? / Saha, Somnath (Som); Saint, Sanjay; Christakis, Dimitri A.

In: Journal of the Medical Library Association, Vol. 91, No. 1, 01.2003, p. 42-46.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Saha, Somnath (Som) ; Saint, Sanjay ; Christakis, Dimitri A. / Impact factor : A valid measure of journal quality?. In: Journal of the Medical Library Association. 2003 ; Vol. 91, No. 1. pp. 42-46.
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