Journal impact measures the importance or influence of a particular journal in a field or discipline and can help you decide which journals you should publish in. Journal impact metrics take into account the number of articles published per time period and the number of citations to articles published in that journal. They can help track citation patterns within journals and determine which journals are highly cited.
There are many factors that influence the impact of a journal and each tool may produce varying results depending on the scope of its database. For a more accurate picture of journal impact, use more than one tool and compare the results.
The Journal Impact Factor (JIF) or Impact Factor (IF) ranks journals based on how many times a journal's “average article” is cited in a particular year. The calculation is based on a 2-year citation period, where a journal’s citations are divided by the total number of published citable articles.
The 5-Year Journal Impact Factor calculates over a larger span of years. The 5-year span can be useful for subjects where articles take longer to accumulate citations. A publication’s 5-Year Journal Impact Factor will tend to be higher than its Journal Impact Factor when the wait between publication and peak citation is greater than two years.
Adapted from the Journal Impact guide
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