As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of Advances in Skin & Wound Care, I’m happy to share another important milestone in the journal’s history. Advances in Skin & Wound Care recently made its debut into the current biomedical Journal Citation Reports (JCR) by Thomson Reuters, with an initial impact factor (IF) ranking of 1.438. With this first IF rating, we also rank 13th out of 97 journals in the report’s Science category! This achievement marks a significant benchmark for the journal.
We extend our gratitude to all the authors, clinical editors, editorial board members, and peer reviewers who contribute to the success of the journal. It is their clinical expertise and research findings that provide quality content for our readers. I’d also like to thank the editors and publishers at Lippincott Williams & Wilkins/Wolters Kluwer Health, especially Kathleen Greaves, Daniella Thoren, Theresa Steltzer, and Barbara Miller, who provide the operational and quality framework for the journal.
Given the complexity of the journal IFs and their current influence, we should consider the history, current concerns, and the future of biomedical journal ranking.
Patient care is becoming more comprehensive and complex. Today’s wound care practitioner is responsible for operating in the context of a system of care and possessing knowledge competencies in multiple components of the healthcare system, including the acquisition of knowledge throughout the career span. The systems-based, evidence-based, and patient care information available to the modern clinician presents an array of learning materials to interpret. And, clinicians must measure the credibility and quality of learning resources, including the journals we read. Quantitative tools for ranking, evaluating, categorizing, and comparing journals, especially peer-reviewed clinical and research journals, have been provided by the concept of the IF.
The Journal IF
Thomson Reuters began to publish the JCR in 1975 as part of the Social Sciences Citation Index. The journal IF emanates from the JCR, and it is a product of the Thomson Institute for Scientific Information. The JCR provides quantitative tools for evaluating journals, such as the IF. The IF measures the frequency with which the “average article” in a journal has been cited in a given period and is a surrogate for the impact it is making in a given field. The IF for a journal is calculated based on a 3-year period and can be considered to be the average number of times published papers are cited up to 2 years after publication. For more information on this calculation process, visit http://thomsonreuters.com/products_services/science/free/essays/impact_factor.
Peer-reviewed journals typically post IF rankings on their websites.
Using the IF as a metric is like any other measurement tool. The intended use was to measure the activity related to important articles in the field, and citations are a good measure of the importance or impact; however, there has been some “utilization creep”1 in the use of the tool. Some academic institutions use the IF as a surrogate for quality performance measures of faculty—for example, the number of publications in a highly ranked biomedical journal. In addition, the authors of manuscripts may prefer to publish in journals with a higher IF.
The Future of Journal Assessments
In addition to Thomson Scientific, other methodologies are emerging to measure the status of scholarship, including Google Scholar, CrossRef, the usage factor of the United Kingdom Serials Group, or the Y-Factor, a combination of both the IF and the weighted page rank, developed by Google.2 Google Scholar Citations (GSC) provides an online tool for authors to instantly track citations to their articles. You use GSC to graph citations over time and compute several citation metrics. You can also make your profile public, so that it may appear in Google Scholar results when people search for your name on this site.3
In 2012, together in the field of wound care we have accomplished substantial gains in understanding the clinical complexities in wound care practice. Now, and in the future, new challenges remain in providing quantitative and qualitative evidence for our practices and deciding what clinical journals to use for scientific and educational content.
Richard “Sal” Salcido, MD
1. Pendlebury DA, Adams J. Comments on a critique of the Thomson Reuters journal impact factor. Scientometrics 2012; 1–7.
2. The PLoS Medicine
Editors. The Impact Factor Game. PLoS Med 2006;3(6): e291.