How variable are the journal impact measures?

azam bazrafshan bazrafshan.a.83 at GMAIL.COM
Sat Oct 18 00:14:28 EDT 2014

How variable are the journal impact measures?

Aliakbar Haghdoost
, Morteza Zare
<>, Azam
(2014) "How variable are the journal impact measures?", Online Information
Review, Vol. 38 Iss: 6, pp.723 - 737

Available at:

- The purpose of this paper is to examine the variability of the impact
factor (IF) and additional metrics in biomedical journals to provide some
clues to the reliability of journal citation indicators.

- Having used ISI Journal Citation Reports, from 2005 to 2011, the authors
extracted 62 subject categories related to biomedical sciences. The
category lists and citation profile for each journal were then downloaded
and extracted. Coefficient of variation was applied to estimate the overall
variability of the journal citation indicators.

- Total citation indicators for 3,411 journals were extracted and examined.
The overall variability of IFs and other journal citation measures in
basic, clinical or translational, open access or subscription journals
decreased while the quality and prestige of those journals developed.
Interestingly, journal citation measures produced dissimilar variability
trends and thus highlighted the importance of using multiple instead of
just one measure in evaluating the performance and influence of biomedical
journals. Eigenfactor(tm), Article's Influence and Cited Half Life proposed as
more reliable indicators.

- The relative variability of the journal citation measures in biomedical
journals would decrease with a development in the impact and quality of
journals. Eigenfactor(tm) and Cited Half Life are suggested as more reliable
measures indicating few changes during the study period and across
different impact level journals. These findings will be useful for
librarians, researchers and decision makers who need to use citation
measures as evaluative tools.
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