The 2014 Impact Factors have been released by Thomson-Reuters, and the Journal of Geophysical Research number is 3.4. Yes, to two significant digits, it is exactly the same as last year’s Impact Factor. I hesitate to report anything more than 2 digits, because I don’t feel like the Impact Factor should be reported and used to that fine-scale precision.
Remember how the Impact Factor is calculated, being essentially the average citation in year 2014 of papers published in 2013 and 2012. Thomson-Reuters also calculates a 5-year Impact Factor, as well as some other measures of journal significance, and the 2014 5-year Impact Factor for JGR is 3.7, again identical to the 2013 value to two significant digits.
The flatness of these values reminds of the recruiting poster I received from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology back in high school:
Yeah, RHIT is in a “zero slope” part of the country. By the way, for the rest of you RHIT alums out there, note that you can purchase this poster through the Rose-Hulman bookstore.
Okay, back to Impact Factor: another point to make about it is that this is still a value for all sections of JGR combined. Each section has its own journal identifier now, though, so, either in 2015 or 2016, the sections will be split and receive individual values. For now, however, all sections are lumped together in a single calculation.
Compared to last year’s 8% increase in Impact Factor, this 0% increase is a bit disappointing. On the other hand, at least it didn’t go down. I’ll download the Journal Citation Report and take a closer look at the numbers behind this index to see if there is something to be learned.