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Weighing the impact (factor) of publishing in veterinary journals
- Christopher, Mary M.
- Journal of veterinary cardiology 2015 v.17 no.2 pp. 77-82
- biomedical research, funding, issues and policy, social impact, university programs, veterinary medicine
- The journal in which you publish your research can have a major influence on the perceived value of your work and on your ability to reach certain audiences. The impact factor, a widely used metric of journal quality and prestige, has evolved into a benchmark of quality for institutions and graduate programs and, inappropriately, as a proxy for the quality of individual authors and articles, affecting tenure, promotion, and funding decisions. As a result, despite its many limitations, publishing decisions by authors often are based solely on a journal's impact factor. This can disadvantage journals in small disciplines, such as veterinary medicine, and limit the ability of authors to reach key audiences. In this article, factors that can influence the impact factor of a journal and its applicability, including precision, citation practices, article type, editorial policies, and size of the research community will be reviewed. The value and importance of veterinary journals such as the Journal of Veterinary Cardiology for reaching relevant audiences and for helping shape disciplinary specialties and influence clinical practice will also be discussed. Lastly, the efforts underway to develop alternative measures to assess the scientific quality of individual authors and articles, such as article-level metrics, as well as institutional measures of the economic and social impact of biomedical research will be considered. Judicious use of the impact factor and the implementation of new metrics for assessing the quality and societal relevance of veterinary research articles will benefit both authors and journals.