PeerJ receives its first (partial) Impact Factor

PeerJ received its first Impact Factor last week (which is a ‘partial‘ Impact Factor, and came in at 2.1). We know that being listed in the Web of Science and receiving an Impact Factor is very important for many stakeholders, and so this represents another milestone in our short history (having started our publication program in February 2013). From over 2,000 articles and preprints published to over 2 million article views and downloads, PeerJ is growing from strength to strength.

For those not familiar with this metric, the 2014 Impact Factor is the number of citations in 2014 to articles published in 2012 and 2013 divided by the number of articles published in 2012 and 2013. Our very first Impact Factor is classed as partial because PeerJ only started publishing part way through the normal evaluation ‘window’ (of 2012-2013) and so our articles have not yet had the full time period in which to accrue citations. In other words because PeerJ only began publishing articles just over two years ago our first Impact Factor is drawn from the citation data of only 10.5 months of published articles rather than the standard 24 months.

The diagram below shows exactly how much data is covered in our first Impact Factor versus the 2015 Impact Factor we are due to receive next year. We feel it is important to make this distinction in order for our existing and potential authors to see the true article data behind these citation numbers.peerjs-partial-impact-factor-explained

All things considered a partial Impact factor of 2.1 is deemed by many to be a good indicator of a journal’s ability to fully establish itself by publishing high quality articles. The 2015 Impact Factor for PeerJ, to be announced next year, will include 22 months of PeerJ article citation data, and so we can reasonably expect it will increase from this first partial impact factor.

Whilst we appreciate the importance still placed on the Impact Factor by many elements of the academic community, PeerJ believes that individual research articles are best assessed on their own merits, rather than the aggregate citation count for the entire journal in which the work is published, hence the reason we signed the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA). Having said this, we do also understand that PeerJ’s inclusion in the Web of Science is very important for the many academics whose research output is still measured by metrics such as the Impact Factor.

Impact Factors only measure citations (and at the journal level, not the article level).  So rather than worrying about the Impact Factor of the journal, it is more important to us that a researcher’s work gets the visibility it deserves (be that through citations or any other relevant metric), whilst delivering this through an exceptional publishing experience from submission to publication. For example, we include article level metrics on all of our article pages to ensure that each article gets individual credit and the recognition it warrants. We also enable post publication commenting through our Q&A system allowing for ongoing dialogue with an author once an article is published.

We are thrilled that so many authors have chosen to publish with PeerJ already, and joined us on the journey to making low cost, high quality open access publishing a new reality. Without those authors taking a chance on a new journal we wouldn’t be where we are today – we thank you all!

We are also extremely grateful to our impressive Editorial Board members who have continued to champion PeerJ since our launch in February 2013, and our dedicated Reviewers who make sure that we consistently publish only the best research.

We look forward to many more authors publishing their work with PeerJ – and in turn their work being cited by others for the wider benefit and dissemination of science.

Why not join thousands of happy authors and publish your work in PeerJ too? Submit your research today.

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