Comparing journal impact factors across subject fields?

Peter van.den.Besselaar Peter.van.den.Besselaar at NIWI.KNAW.NL
Thu Mar 20 10:55:29 EST 2003

If I understand your question correctly, I would suggest to make per subject field cumulative distributions of journals in terms of their impactfactors. That enables you to compare the relative position of journals over subject fields within their subject field. For example, in one field, an impact factor of 1.0 may be the start of the top 10% journals, where in another field 1.6 may be the start of the top 10%. 

I hope this helps,

best regards,

Peter van den Besselaar

>>> egackerma at RADFORD.EDU 03/20/03 04:44pm >>>
I am doing a study in which I would like to compare the journal impact factors and rankings across subject fields (as given by the Journal Citation Reports). Given the skewed nature of the data and the differences in the citation habits of each subject field, I've been searching for a way to do this so that I am still comparing apples to apples (i.e., like results to like results), perhaps similar to z-scores for normal distributions. I've been looking in the literature for such a means but without much luck. Can anyone suggest an article (or two) that would explain such a method (if it exists) and demonstrate how it is used?

Many thanks for your help in this matter.

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