Changes to our Journal metrics – a more rounded picture?

Journal Impact Factors – based on citations of articles published in the journal concerned, have been used as a proxy for the prestige of a journal in comparison with others in its field. And promotion committee considerations can be based on whether an academic has had articles published in high impact factor outlets. But this means of assessing the value of journals, the quality of articles published in them, and by extension the standing of the authors of published pieces, has been subject to criticism. These concerns run from questioning the reliability of the measurement and ranking, through encouragement to editors and authors to game the system, to condemnation of a neo-liberalised audit culture in academia. Some publishers and platforms, such as PLOS, have decided not to display Impact Factors.

Our Journal’s publisher, Routledge/Taylor & Francis, is now starting to shift away from the Impact Factor as a key indicator of quality, replacing it with a ‘basket’ of metrics in an effort to provide a more rounded views of the various ways in which a journal and articles published within it may have scholarly, policy and social ‘impact’.

The metrics being posted on the publishers’ IJSRM page for 2020 are:

  • an Impact Factor of 3.061 for the year, and one of 4.508 over a 5-year period
  • a new Journal Citation Indicator of 2.15, ranking 13/254 in the category of Social Sciences, Interdisciplinary, and
  • a CiteScore of 5.0, ranking 16/260 in all Social

Whether or not such moves deal with the concerns about measurement reliability, gaming the system, and evaluating of academics, is a moot point.

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