, Volume 92, Issue 2, pp 281–292 | Cite as

What do the scientists think about the impact factor?

  • Gualberto Buela-Casal
  • Izabela ZychEmail author


The impact factor is a highly polemic metric. It was designed to help scientists in searching for bibliographic references for their own works, enabling communication among researchers and helping librarians in deciding which journal they should purchase. Nevertheless, it has soon become the most important measure of scientific performance applied to journals, articles, scientists, universities, etc. Since then, some researchers argue that it is a useless and flawed measure, while others defend its utility. The current study is the first survey on the opinion on the topic of a broad sample of scientists from all over the world. The questionnaire was answered by 1,704 researchers from 86 different countries, all the continents and all the UNESCO major fields of knowledge. The results show that the opinion is slightly above the median which could be understood as “neither positive nor negative”. Surprisingly, there is a negative correlation between the number of articles published by the respondents and their opinion on the impact factor.


Impact factor Web of Science Journal Citation Reports Quality 


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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Facultad de PsiciologíaUniversidad de GranadaGranadaSpain
  2. 2.Departamento de Psicología. Facultad de Ciencias de la EducaciónUniversidad de CórdobaCórdobaSpain

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