Answered By: Harry L. Whitlock II
Last Updated: Jun 22, 2017     Views: 36

In research and writing by academic professionals, the impact factor (IF) of a journal is a semi-quantitiative measure of the average number of citations from a specific journal that appear in other academic articles. It is often used as a means of determining the relative importance of a journal in a specific field of study. Thus a journal that is often cited by other articles is said to have a high impact factor. A journal that is rarely cited has a low impact factor.

Through the UW libraries, you can see what the Impact Factor is for different journals by looking at Journal Citation Reports. This link will take you to that database: http://www-lib.uwyo.edu/utils/permalink.cfm?id=82690 You must be affiliated with the University of Wyoming to access this information; off-campus users be sure to sign on through the proxy server.

In some fields the validity of impact factors is disputed. If you are concerned about the validity of impact factors for certain journals, we recommend that you talk to a knowledgeable professor or researcher in your field of study, or talk to on of the academic librarians at the UW libraries. This link will take you to the list of liaison librarians: http://libguides.uwyo.edu/content.php?pid=533405&sid=4387697

This library guide covers this topic in much more detail: http://libguides.uwyo.edu/ResearchAnalytics

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