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Building journal’s long-term impact: using indicators detected from the sustained active articles


The Journal’s Impact Factor is an appropriate measure of recent concern rather than an effective measure of long-term impact of journals. This paper is mainly to find indicators that can effectively quantify the long-term impact of journal, with the aim to provide more useful supplementary information for journal evaluation. By examining the correlation between articles’ past citations and their future citations in different time windows, we found that the articles which were referenced in the past years will yield useful information also in the future. The age characteristics of these sustained active articles in journals provide clues for establishing long-term impact metrics for journals. A new indicator: h1-index was proposed to extract the active articles with at least the same number of citations as the h1-index in the statistical year. On this basis, four indicators describing the age characteristics of active articles were proposed to quantify the long-term impact of journals. The experimental results show that these indicators have a high correlation with the journal’s total citations, indicating that it is appropriate for these indicators to express the impact of the journal. Combining the average age of the active articles with the impact factors of journals, we found that some journals with short-term attraction strategies can also build long-term impact. The indicators presented in this paper that describe the long-term impact of journals will be a useful complement to journal quality assessment.

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This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 71473034), the Heilongjiang Provincial Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. LH2019G001), and the financial assistance from Postdoctoral Scientific Research Developmental Fund of Heilongjiang Province (Grant No. LBH-Q16003).

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Correspondence to Guangsheng Chen.

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Wang, M., Jiao, S., Chai, K. et al. Building journal’s long-term impact: using indicators detected from the sustained active articles. Scientometrics 121, 261–283 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-019-03196-8

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  • Impact evaluation
  • Long-term impact
  • Active articles
  • h 1-Index
  • Impact factor