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Why Impact Factor is necessary for Open Access Journals?

Recently a trend has been witnessed toward open-access journal publishing. Not only open-access journals but subscription-based journals are attracting the attention of researchers across the globe. Such growing trends are the primary reason for the eruption of novel journals. However, it is necessary to determine the credibility of the content published in a particular journal from the authors’ point of view. 

The journal’s impact factor is helping hand over here to decide whether to publish an article over here or not. One cannot say that the impact factor of a journal is a parameter that shouts for its quality. Instead, it can give a quick guide regarding the journal’s Impact throughout the last two years. The following section will define the impact factor in more detail, along with its significance.

What is the significance of the open-access journal Impact factor?  

Why Impact Factor is necessary for Open Access Journals? 1

The impact factor is widely used to assess a journal’s overall Impact and accessibilities within its domain. We will explore the significance of the journal impact factor and its importance in evaluating the quality and Impact of research.

  • The main advantage is its ability to provide research scholars and institutions with a tool for assessing the quality and Impact of published articles in a particular journal. 
  • Journals with a high impact factor are often regarded as more prestigious. They are more likely to attract high-quality research submissions and more citations and visibility in the research fraternity. This can lead to increased funding opportunities and career advancement for individual researchers. 
  • IF plays an important role in the revenue through publication charges from the author. Journals with a high impact factor often attract a larger number of submissions.
  • More articles allow a strict selective publication process and a higher quality of published research. This can help ensure that only the most relevant and impactful research is published in top-tier journals, which can ultimately benefit the scientific community.

Limitations of journal impact factor

Why Impact Factor is necessary for Open Access Journals? 2
  • The impact factor is just one of many metrics used to determine the Impact of published research work. It should not be used as the only measure of scholarly merit. 
  • Some critics argue that using the impact factor to measure research quality and Impact can be misleading and encourage researchers to focus more on publishing in high-impact journals rather than pursuing innovative and impactful research.
  • IF is based on the number of citations received by a journal during a specific period, which may not necessarily reflect the true Impact of the research published in that journal. 
  • Additionally, the impact factor can vary widely depending on the discipline and the journal’s specialization, and it may not always accurately reflect the quality or Impact of the research published in that journal.

The journal impact factor remains an important metric for evaluating the quality and Impact of research, particularly in fields where the number of citations is a reliable indicator of research impact. 

What is Impact Factor?

Why Impact Factor is necessary for Open Access Journals? 3
  • The journal’s impact factor measures the influence and importance of a scientific journal in a particular field. Originally designed for the librarian to get enough insights into the journal very quickly. The impact factor helps the librarian decide whether the journal can be included in the monthly/quarterly self. 
  • Journal’s impact factor is a numeric indicator achieved via a standard and well-accepted mathematical formula that directly targets the whole journal rather than the individual published article within that journal.
  • It is calculated based on the average number of citations received by articles published in that journal during a specific period. It is commonly used as a metric to evaluate the quality and reputation of a journal. Researchers, institutions, and funding agencies often use it to assess the research output and Impact of individual scientists or research groups.
  • The impact factor does not answer the question: Is the journal good or bad? Instead, it provides an idea to the researcher based on the “citations” of the published articles within that journal. 
  • Let me put it in a very simple way: Impact factor of the journal, derive some number which shows how frequently and so far how many times the articles published, get cited by the researchers across the globe. As a result, the impact factor pushes the ball into the researchers’ court to decide whether the journal is good or bad based on how many times published articles get references from other researchers.
  • Ultimately, researchers can have an idea from the impact factor that articles from the journal are getting more or less attention from other scholars, which indeed speaks about the quality of the published article. If overall articles are getting good attention, then this journal is good; if vice versa, then the journal is not so trustworthy for scholarly publication. 

Define the impact factor in mathematical form

Why Impact Factor is necessary for Open Access Journals? 4

Impact Factor of Journal X= Y/Z.

Where, 

Y = The Total Number of Citations Received by all Articles Published during a Specific Period (usually two years) }

Z = The total number of articles published in that same period. 

Let’s understand by real-time example with proper numbers:

Suppose Journal X receives a total of 1000 citations for two years.

Journal X has published 500 articles in these two years.

So, We have the values: 

Y = 3000

Z = 500

So, the impact factor of journal X = Y/Z => X = 3000/500 => X= 6 

The impact factor can vary widely among different scientific fields, and a higher impact factor does not necessarily indicate the quality of the research or the journal. Additionally, the impact factor can be influenced by factors such as the size of the research community, the citation practices of different fields, and the popularity of certain research topics.

Despite these limitations, the impact factor remains a widely recognized and widely used metric for evaluating the Impact and influence of scientific journals. However, it is important to use this metric in conjunction with other factors, such as the quality of the research and the relevance of the journal to a particular field, when deciding where to publish or how to evaluate the research impact.

What is the Good Impact Factor of a Journal?

Why Impact Factor is necessary for Open Access Journals? 5

Suppose you are in search of a direct answer to this question. In that case, I apologize for not being able to provide a straightforward answer to your question, as it depends on the academic discipline and the journal’s specialization. Generally, a highly impactful journal is more likely to receive greater recognition and citations than other journals within the same field or discipline.

So, if you compare the impact factors of two journals in the same field, you may say that the journal having a higher impact factor than the second one is a good impact factor.

For example: 

We have two journals, A & B belonging to the same field, C, and they have impact factors as shown below:

Journal A has an Impact factor for a particular time instance = 2.5

Journal B has an Impact factor for a particular time instance = 1.7

Then, one can comment;

  • Journal A has a Good Impact factor. 
  • At the same time, it is not valid to say that Journal B has a bad impact factor. 
  • Journal A impact factor is better than Journal B’s. In other words, articles from journal A acquire more citations in a certain period than those published in journal B.

What is the Bad Impact Factor of a Journal?

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As discussed in the above section, concluding that a particular journal has a “bad” impact factor is very difficult. You already know that the impact factor is achieved via some mathematical formula representing comparative illustration rather than absolute decision-making.

However, a certain threshold has been derived to determine the valid, acceptable impact factor value. Journal can have an impact factor starting from 0. This means the “0 impact factor” journal has no citation during the calculation period. 

By looking at the above paragraph discussion, one can comment:

Journal having a “0” impact factor has no citation, and its impact factor can be termed as “Not Good (Remember not bad)”.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, the journal impact factor is a widely used metric for evaluating the quality and Impact of research published in a particular journal. It provides researchers, academics, and institutions with a standardized measure of research influence and can help promote transparency and accountability in the publication process. However, it is important to note that the impact factor is just one of many metrics used to evaluate the quality and Impact of research and should not be used as the sole measure of scholarly merit.