Impact factor

Fri Dec 10 14:58:11 EST 1993

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To: forsdyke at
Date: Thu, 9 Dec 93 18:23:36 EST
Dear Dr.Forsdyke:

          I' m a Prof of the University of Sao Paulo which was
some doubts about how some grant agencies rank journals. The impact
factor (IF) is most used method to evaluate how "good" a journal is.
When grant agencies worldwide evaluate grant proposals, the IFs of the
published papers of the applicant plays an important role. This is
what happens in the Brazilian agencies for example, where huge grants
are usually given to a few labs (and a little for the rest).
          The IF is defined as the total number of quotations of a
journal in the last 2 y divided by the total nuber of papers. The
average IF for all journal is close to 1.0. What happens if the
journal is very specific it that the IF is below 1 usualy. This is
regardeless of the quality of publications. If a more  general journal
publish in a given year too many unpopular stuff it will get low
rating. On the other hand, the IF of the Free Rad Biol Med (a journal with good
publications)) is higher than Biochemistry or J.Biol.Chem (BEST journals in the
area) because all MDs have a subscription of that journal and use it
(some times) as the **only** source of references about oxygen damage.
This is an exemple of how popularity and fashion is more important
than any thing !
          But how to calculate quality then ?  This is a dificult
question that I would like to talk about on the net. I you think it is
worthy, please foward may point to the entire net.
                                        Dr.Marcelo Hermes Lima

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