Impact factor

Marc Roussel mroussel at
Sat Dec 11 15:44:16 EST 1993

In article <93344.145811FORSDYKE at QUCDN.QueensU.CA> <FORSDYKE at QUCDN.QueensU.CA>
>To: forsdyke at
>Date: Thu, 9 Dec 93 18:23:36 EST
>Dear Dr.Forsdyke:
>          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. [...]
>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 !
>                                        Dr.Marcelo Hermes Lima

     Actually, this is only an example of the fact that you can't
compare journals (or publication counts, or...) across fields of
science.  The journal "Free Rad Biol Med" is a medical journal;
Biochemistry and J. Biol. Chem. are (bio)chemistry journals so no
meaningful comparison can be made.  You would find similar oddities if
you tried to compare a typical chemistry journal with a typical
mathematics journal.  The standards for citing literature are different
in different fields; this affects the journal IFs as well as personal
citation rates.  Any competent administrator should be able to draw
these distinctions.  Sadly, as Dr Lima points out, some can't.

				Marc R. Roussel
                                mroussel at

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