For the third year in a row, the Impact Factor for the Journal of Sedimentary Research has risen! Based on 2011 ratings, the Impact Factor is 2.331, a rise of more than 32% since 2008. With this increase, JSR remains the highest-rated sedimentology/stratigraphy journal, and presently ranks #5 in the “Geology” subject category.
The Impact Factor (IF) of a journal is a quantitative measure of the impact of a journal, calculated by comparing the average number of citations of recent articles to the number of articles published over a period of time (generally 2 years). It is published online in Journal Citation Reports® as part of the ISI Web of Knowledgesm. The concept has been around for many years (commentary by Eugene Garfield, the originator, is available at at THIS link),
Although we are proud of this increase, we also resist the urge to over-interpret these quantitative metrics. These types of tools have been roundly criticized on several bases. In one recent review, Vanclay (2011) went so far as to suggest that calculating the impact factor has parallels with “the out-dated pseudo-science that attempted to infer human behaviour from measurements of skull morphology….” Similarly, numbers can be easy to abuse, manipulate, or mis-interpret – unintentionally or intentionally. A former department chair once said in reference to the tenure process that “The dean can’t read, but he can count…,” consistent with Smith (2006), who noted that “…people, including scientists, credit numbers with an importance that they deny to words.”
In this sense, we re-iterate the objective of JSR—to provide readers with the best-written, cutting-edge science papers dedicated to advancing the broad field of sedimentary geology. We hope that you, our readers, agree that JSR offers important and interesting contributions—regardless of any quantitative measure of “impact.”
Finally, we close with important words—thanks to those of you who have contributed to the journal, as authors, reviewers, or Associate Editors. Be proud, for this increase is in no small part a reflection of your contributions and efforts to advance sedimentary geology.