, Volume 78, Issue 1, pp 3–12

Bias in the journal impact factor


DOI: 10.1007/s11192-008-1778-4

Cite this article as:
Vanclay, J.K. Scientometrics (2009) 78: 3. doi:10.1007/s11192-008-1778-4


The ISI journal impact factor (JIF) is based on a sample that may represent half the whole-of-life citations to some journals, but a small fraction (<10%) of the citations accruing to other journals. This disproportionate sampling means that the JIF provides a misleading indication of the true impact of journals, biased in favour of journals that have a rapid rather than a prolonged impact. Many journals exhibit a consistent pattern of citation accrual from year to year, so it may be possible to adjust the JIF to provide a more reliable indication of a journal’s impact.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Southern Cross UniversityLismoreAustralia