Yesterday, on June 20th, 2008, ISI/SCI released their 2007 Journal Citation Reports, reporting journal impact factors for the worlds' most important scholarly journals. The Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR) remains one of the most successful Open Access journals in the world*. For the second year in a row, JMIR came out as the #2 ranked journal in the medical informatics category (out of 20 journals). JMIR slightly improved its impact factor to 3.0 and has now almost the same impact factor as the leading medical informatics journal (JAMIA), whose impact factor dropped to 3.1. JAMIA is published by Elsevier and backed by an influential scientific society (American Medical Informatics Association), while JMIR is pretty much a one-man show on a shoestring budget. Anyone still not convinced about the open access advantage?
In fact, compared to the 2006 Impact Factors, most medical informatics journals - except JMIR - saw slight drops in their impact factors, e.g. J BIOMED INFORM (now 2.0), INT J MED INFORM (now 1.6), and METHOD INFORM MED (now 1.5). All these journals have respected editors in the field and significant backing of commercial publishers and/or societies. The only other journal with "Internet" in its title (MED INFORM INTERNET) achieved an impact factor of only 0.5.
Yes, I know, the journal impact factor is a terrible and intransparent metric, but there are also other metrics and arguments we could look at to convince authors that they should submit their best papers to JMIR.
For example, JMIR has much faster turnaround times (days from submission to publication) than its competitor journals. Also, as I mentioned elsewhere, open access presumably helps uptake by other disciplines and the public - something the impact factor does not capture (impact on knowledge translation is hard to measure, but I am working on it). For many authors, this is the primary reason for why they submit their best papers to JMIR. The recent selection of three JMIR papers for reprint in the IMIA Yearbook as best medical informatics papers of the year further illustrates the leading status of the journal.
By the way: JMIR does not only publish medical informatics papers, but also increasingly on broader health policy and health services issues, in particular if they are related to information and communication technologies. In the ISI/SCI "health sciences and services" category, JMIR is ranked #6 (out of 57), has now an equal impact factor with HEALTH AFFAIRS, and beats journals such as HEALTH SERV RES, HEALTH EXPECT, AM J MANAG CARE, MED EDUC, BMC HEALTH SERV RES (another open access journal, but impact factor only 1.6) or TELEMED J E-HEALTH and J TELEMED TELECARE (the latter two have an impact factor of only 0.9).
(See also: ISI/SCI Impact Factors 2007: JMIR remains on top)
* When making this bold statement I am not talking about the absolute impact factor, but about the ranking within its subdiscipline. For example, PloS Med has obviously a higher impact factor (because general medical papers are more frequently cited than medical informatics papers), but is only ranked as #6 in its category "Medicine, General", whereas JMIR maintains its #2 rank in its category.
Please cite as:
Gunther Eysenbach. ISI/SCI Journal Impact Factors in Medical Informatics: Open Access Journal on Top. Gunther Eysenbach Random Research Rants Blog. 2008-06-21. URL:http://gunther-eysenbach.blogspot.com/2008/06/journal-impact-factor-in-medical.html. Accessed: 2008-06-21. (Archived by WebCite® at http://www.webcitation.org/5YjfVTD3a)