Rheumatology International

, Volume 32, Issue 7, pp 1861–1867 | Cite as

Diversity, value and limitations of the journal impact factor and alternative metrics

  • Lutz Bornmann
  • Werner Marx
  • Armen Yuri GasparyanEmail author
  • George D. Kitas
Review Article


The highly popular journal impact factor (JIF) is an average measure of citations within 1 year after the publication of a journal as a whole within the two preceding years. It is widely used as a proxy of a journal’s quality and scientific prestige. This article discusses misuses of JIF to assess impact of separate journal articles and the effect of several manuscript versions on JIF. It also presents some newer alternative journal metrics such as SCImago Journal Rank and the h-index and analyses examples of their application in several subject categories.


Bibliometrics Periodicals as topic Impact factor h-Index Biomedical journals Rheumatology 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lutz Bornmann
    • 1
  • Werner Marx
    • 2
  • Armen Yuri Gasparyan
    • 3
    Email author
  • George D. Kitas
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Max Planck Society, Administrative HeadquartersMunichGermany
  2. 2.Max Planck Institute for Solid State ResearchStuttgartGermany
  3. 3.Clinical Research Unit, Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust (A Teaching Trust of University of Birmingham), Department of RheumatologyRussell’s Hall HospitalDudley, West MidlandsUK
  4. 4.Arthritis Research UK Epidemiology UnitUniversity of ManchesterManchesterUK

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