Free Content The significance of an impact factor: implications for the publishing community


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The journal impact factor, as a metric developed in the mid-1960s by Dr Eugene Garfield and Dr Irving Sher, represents the influence that an ‘average article’ published in a specific journal has on the scholarly discipline and audience that it serves. Originally intended to serve as an equalizer for use by the Institute for Scientific Information® (ISI®) in making comparative evaluations of large and small journals in a particular discipline, the impact factor now has numerous applications for publishers, librarians, and researchers. Ideally, the journal impact factor should be seen by publishers as a useful tool in gauging the effectiveness of their publication product in serving the needs of a particular scholarly community. The significance of a journal impact factor, its appropriate usage by the scholarly publishing community and its extension into the electronic environment are discussed.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: April 1, 2000

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  • Editor in Chief: Pippa Smart
    North American Editor: Judy Luther

    Learned Publishing is the journal of the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers, published in collaboration with the Society for Scholarly Publishing. The journal is published quarterly in January/April/July/October.

    Learned Publishing articles are available free online to members of ALPSP and SSP.
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