What is an Impact Factor, and how it can be useful for you? 

Journal Impact Factor (JIF) is a metric of authority and importance for academic journals, calculated every year. Since its establishment in 1975, the JIF has been calculated by different organizations. Currently, Thomson Scientific ( Scopus) is calculating and publishing Journal Citation Reports (JCR) annually. You may access the report at the Scopus Preview website. 

Impact Factor is calculated by dividing the number of citations of the journal by the sum of its citable publications during the previous two consecutive years. Consequently, you should understand the metric as an indicator of how often a certain journal is cited in different publications. 

Logically, the more journal is cited, the more people trust and rely on its information validity. So, you can consider high-impact journals as a good source to conduct your research. On the other side, the Impact Factor will help you choose where you want to publish your Ph.D. or other research works. 

Is the Impact Factor an effective metric?

The creators of the factor, Eugene Garfield and Irving Sher, aimed to invent a metric that will serve to evaluate the journals. Following the Genetics Citation Index's first experimental publication in 1955, Science Citation Index (SCI) was published in 1961. Garfield and Sher introduced the metric for selecting the new journals to include in the SCI. Since then, the assumption is there is a direct dependence between the journal's impact factor and quality. 

However, there are critics of the metric, pointing to the disadvantages or flaws of its calculation. There is a suggestion that it would be more appropriate to present the median rather than the mean of the data Impact Factor uses for calculations. Also, critics say JIF can't be an accurate predictive measure of where to publish your works. A certain article can achieve few citations even if published in a frequently cited journal. 

Addressing the wave of skepticism toward the metric, the European Association of Science Editors restated its purpose in 2017. JIF should be an indicator to assess the entire journal's influence, not single publications or researchers separately. 

Journals with High Impact Factor 

The following list does not contain a list for the specific year’s highest impact factor journals (see the JIF near the Journal’s title). Also, the list was composed considering the inclusion of different fields, rather than the chronological order from the highest JIF to the lowest. That’s why you may see inconsistent progress in the mentioned impact factors. 

CA- A Cancer Journal for Clinicians | 435,4

It's one of the American Cancer Society's journals, published from 1950. The journal keeps the physicians and healthcare professionals updated on the industry developments related to cancer care. CA includes topics such as cancer prevention and early detection, treatment, survivorship, etc. 

Natural Review Materials | 123,7

The journal publishes weekly updates on the development of materials science. The published reviews reflect the author's objective opinion of the challenges and perspectives that industry professionals face. The journal belongs to the Nature Reviews journals collection.

Quarterly Journal of Economics | 22,7

Quarterly Journal of Economics is edited by the Harvard University's Department of Economics. Journal includes articles covering all the economics topics and is relevant for industry academics, professionals, and students. 

Nature Reviews Genetics | 73,5

Another journal from the collection of Natural Reviews collection covers genetic technology and the accumulation of genomic information. The journal claims to have relevant issues for all scientists. 

Cell | 58,7

Cell publishes articles related to the Science of Life. The journal is published twice a week by the publishing giant Elsevier. The covered topics include cell biology, genetics, immunology, biophysics, etc. 

Journal of Political Economy | 12,1

Since the establishment in 1892, the journal aims to publish articles to influence global economic research. Economists can find highly relevant micro and macroeconomic theory, international trade, social economics, etc. 

New England Journal of Medicine | 66,1

NEJM is the world's leading source of medical information. It has a continuous history of almost 200 years and covers biomedical science and clinical practice topics. 

Econometrica | 8,1

Econometrica commits to the quantitative approach to the existing econometric problems through its publications. The journal refers to both classic econometric theories and innovative areas and tools. 

Energy and Environmental Sciences | 56,0

The scope of the journal is to assist researchers in meeting environmental and climate changes. The published article topics mainly refer to energy conversion, alternative fuel technology, and environmental science. 

Academy of Management Annals | 22,1

The journal publishes reviews of the advances in the management field. The reviews are beyond-descriptive and also projectile the possible future developments of the issues. The journal is the 1st in the list of 226 management journals and 152 business journals. 

Immunity | 37,4

Cell Press publishes immunity. It covers topics in the field of immunology and is highly ranked among other industry journals. Journal started its operation in 1994 and is published every month. 

Journal of Labor Economics | 7,6

In the journal's quarterly publications, there are topics related to labor economics such as supply and demand of labor, personnel economics, income distribution, etc. 

Annual Review of Plant Biology | 32,8

The journal is published since 1950 and offers materials related to all the significant developments in plant biology. The main covered topics include biochemistry, biosynthesis, molecular biology, organ, whole plant events, etc. 

Living Reviews in Relativity | 54,1

The journal is available only online and provides full access to all the materials. The covered topics about relativity are purposed for the graduate level and above professionals and researchers. The journal operates since 1998.

Annual Review of Psychology | 38,2

The article is a source for updates on the latest events in the psychology field. The journal is published since 1950. You may explore topics like sensation and perception, animal learning and behavior, social psychology, etc. 

Journal of the American College of Cardiology | 29,0

The different topics of cardiovascular disease are covered in the journal. The publications are in the format of original clinical studies, state-of-the-art papers, and review articles. 

European Urology | 33,2

There are published materials on a wide scope of topics related to urology. Together, all the issues form a complete guide for urology's international development, covering both the diseases and the latest improvements and techniques. 

Cell Metabolism | 37,5

Cell Metabolism is one of the youngest journals in the Cell's journal collection. Its first issue was in 2005 and is focused on physiology. The topics of the issues roll over self-regulation of bodies in changeable conditions and balance disturbances that can lead to diseases. 

Journal of Clinical Oncology | 35,4

The journal is published three times a week by the American Society of Clinical Oncology. The published materials cover all the aspects of clinical oncology. Articles published more than a year ago have become freely accessible. 

Advanced Energy Materials | 35,4

A large scope of topics related to energy harvesting, conversion, and storage are accessible in the journal starting from 2011. Advanced Energy Materials are a good point to start any research related to energy topics. 

Journal of Statistical Software | 18,2

The source provides materials about statistical software and algorithms in articles, book reviews, code snippets, and software reviews. The content of the journal is accessible for free. 

Cell Stem Cell | 35,7

Journal issues cover a large specter of topics in the field of stem cell biology. The journal publications include research reports of novel research in the industry and encourage human Cells. 

Journal of the American Mathematical Society | 9,1

The journal is devoted to the spheres of pure and applied mathematics. All the early-time publications are accessible online with searchable features. 

Reviews of Modern Physics | 75,8

Reviews of Modern Physics deliver in-depth and detailed essays on the current research trends in applied, fundamental, and interdisciplinary physics.

Use the above-mentioned Scopus Reviews link for exploring the full list. 

Published on Mar 05, 2021