Bias in the journal impact factor
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- Vanclay, J.K. Scientometrics (2009) 78: 3. doi:10.1007/s11192-008-1778-4
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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.