The Impact Factor (IF) of a journal is a measure reflecting the yearly average number of citations to recent articles published in that journal. It is frequently used as a measure of the importance of a journal within its field; journals with higher impact factors are often deemed to be more important than those with lower ones. The IF for any given year can be calculated as the number of citations, received in that year, of articles published in that journal during the two preceding years, divided by the total number of articles published in that journal during the two preceding years.
A press-release celebrated the new IF of the journal ‘HOMEOPATHY’ which has featured on this blog before. I am sure that you all want to share in this joy:
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For the second year running there has been an increase in the number of times articles published in the Faculty of Homeopathy’s journal Homeopathy have been cited in articles in other peer-reviewed publications. The figure known as the Impact Factor (IF) has risen from 1.16 to 1.524, which represents a 52% increase in the number of citations.
An IF is used to determine the impact a particular journal has in a given field of research and is therefore widely used as a measure of quality. The latest IF assessment for Homeopathy covers citations during 2017 for articles published in the previous two years (2015 and 2016).
Dr Peter Fisher, Homeopathy’s editor-in-chief, said: “Naturally the editorial team is delighted by this news. This success is due to the quality and international nature of research and other content we publish. So I thank all those who have contributed such high quality papers, maintaining the journal’s position as the world’s foremost publication in the scholarly study of homeopathy. I would particularly like to thank our senior deputy editor, Dr Robert Mathie for all his hard work.”
First published in 1911 as the British Homoeopathic Journal, Homeopathy is the only homeopathic journal indexed by Medline, with over 100,000 full-text downloads per year. In January 2018, publishing responsibilities for the quarterly journal moved to Thieme, an award-winning medical and science publisher.
Greg White, Faculty chief executive, said: “Moving to a new publisher can be difficult, but the decision we took last year is certainly paying dividends. I would therefore like to thank everyone at Thieme for the part they are playing in the journal’s continued success.”
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While the champagne corks might be popping in homeopathic circles, I want to try and give some perspective to this celebration.
The IP has rightly been criticised so many times for so many reasons, that it is now not generally considered to be a valuable measure for anything. The main reason for this is that it can be (and is being) manipulated in numerous ways. But even if we accept the IP as a meaningful parameter, we must ask what an IP of 1.5 means and how it compares to other medical journals’ IP.
Here are some IFs of general and specialised medical journals readers of this blog might know:
Annals Int Med: 2016/2017 Impact Factor : 17.135,
BMJ: 2016/2017 Impact Factor : 20.785,
Circulation: 2016/2017 Impact Factor : 19.309,
Diabetes Care: 2016/2017 Impact Factor : 11.857,
Gastroenterology: 2016/2017 Impact Factor : 18.392,
Gut: 2016/2017 Impact Factor : 16.658,
J Clin Oncol: 2016/2017 Impact Factor : 24.008,
Lancet: 2016/2017 Impact Factor : 47.831,
Nature Medicine: 2016/2017 Impact Factor : 29.886,
Plos Medicine: 2016/2017 Impact Factor : 11.862,
Trends Pharm Sci: 2016/2017 Impact Factor : 12.797,
This selection seems to indicate that an IF of 1.5 is modest, to say the least. In turn, this means that the above press-release is perhaps just a little bit on the hypertrophic side.
But, of course, it’s all about homeopathy where, as we all know, LESS IS MORE!