The problem with impact factors

Everyone wants to publish in a journal with high impact factor. A high impact factor means that the journals articles are cited by others. Since the scientific publishing has become electronic and moved to the web it has opened totally new ways to make money.

It is especially open access journals which suffer from all the predatory journals and publishers which are started with just the aim to make money. The people behind these journals have realised that a way to get researchers to publish with them is to have an impact factor. This has created another market: companies which sell impact factors to newly started predatory journals.

Jeffrey Beall has written a blog post about these organisations.

New journals cannot have an impact factor because it requires that there has been a couple of years of publishing before an impact factor can be determined. So just because a journal has an impact factor does not mean that the journal is a good one. Make sure that you controll even other things when you choose a journal to publish in.

Other things to check are e.g.:

Does the aim & scope of the journal suit you?
Who are the researchers in the editorial board? Do you recogonize them?
Who has published in the journal before?
Flip thourgh previous issues, how is the quality in the articles? If possible check who has cited the articles, the author him-/herself or someone else?
Can you find the article in  Ulrichs?
If it is an open access journal, can you find it in DOAJ?
Is the journal indexed in the databases the journal says it is indexed in?

Text: Pieta Eklund