The Lancet more than doubles its impact factor, eclipsing NEJM for the first time ever – Retraction Watch

The Lancet more than doubles its impact factor, eclipsing NEJM for the first time ever – Retraction Watch

The Lancet exceeded the New England Journal of Medicine as the medical journal with the highest impact factor, according to Clarivate’s 2022 update of its Journal Citation Reports. And the jump wasn’t subtle: The Lancet’s impact factor – a controversial measure of the average frequency of citations of journal articles – more than doubled from a year ago.

Lancet can thank the COVID-19 pandemic for its rise.

In separate news, Clarivate removed three reviews for self-citation and warned half a dozen others.

As we wrote in articles on previous years’ reports:

Since many universities rely on journal rankings to judge the work of researchers in tenure and promotion decisions, Clarivate’s removal of a journal – which means denying it an impact factor – can have considerable effects. Impact factors are based on the average number of citations of articles in a journal over a given period. Many, including us, have argued that impact factor is not the best way to judge research – for reasons such as the relative ease of playing such metrics.

NEJM had been the top-ranked journal in the general and internal medicine category since Clarivate’s first citation report 45 years ago, according to the analytics firm’s press release on the report.

LancetThe impact factor fell from 79.3 in last year’s report to 202.7. NEJMThe impact factor of also nearly doubled, from 91.2 to 176.1.

Five other journals also had impact factors above 100 for the first time and also published extensive research on COVID-19: the Journal of the American Medical Association, Lancet Respiratory Medicine, Nature examines drug discovery, Journals Nature Immunologyand Nature Journals Molecular Cell Biology.

Three of the ten most cited scientific articles in 2021 appeared in Lancetall about COVID-19.

We asked bibliometrics researcher and consultant Phil Davis to contextualize Lancet‘s move up for us. He said:

No discovery or invention in the history of science can come close to the effect that COVID-19 papers had on citation counts in 2021. However, because the impact factor is so sensitive to papers the most cited, some review scores will reach stratospheric heights this year. , only to collapse next year. Unfortunately, this overloaded cycle of boom and bust will only fuel a greater sense of skepticism about the meaning and interpretation of the impact factor.

Richard Horton, editor of the journal told us he didn’t want to comment without more information about the published report.

NEJMThe newspaper’s editor, Eric Rubin, did not respond to our request for comment, nor did the newspaper’s media relations team.

Clarivate removes reviews from its report, meaning it does not give them impact factors, if it identifies “abnormal citation behavior” that could skew the impact factor, such as excessive self-citation or quote stacking, which is sometimes referred to as participating in “abnormal quote behavior.” cartels” or “citation circles”. This year, Clarivate removed three reviews from its self-citation report, fewer than the 10 removed last year and 33 in 2020.

Here are the three journals removed, out of more than 21,000 in the report:

  • Chinese Journal of Organic Chemistry (Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences)
  • connection science (Taylor and Francois)
  • Indian Journal of Microbiology (Spring nature)

We contacted the deleted reviews for comment and received no response.

Clarivate’s editorial integrity team this year defined a new type of citation behavior that could skew impact factors they call “auto-stacking,” in which “the journal contains one or more papers with citations that are heavily focused on the JIF numerator of the title itself.As this was the first year they defined the term, they issued warnings to the six journals identified as self-stacking citations instead of removing them .

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