Monday, 26 July 2021

What is the future for journal Impact Factor?

The 2020 Journal Impact Factors (IF) have recently been published, and it is good to see that the IFs for the leading mineral processing journals have all increased. 

Mineral Processing & Extractive Metallurgy Review 5.284
Minerals Engineering  4.765
Hydrometallurgy 4.156
Minerals 2.644
International Journal of Minerals Metallurgy & Materials 2.232
Canadian Metallurgical Quarterly 1.456
Physicochemical  Problems of Mineral Processing 1.213
Minerals and Metallurgical Processing 1.02

The IF for Minerals Engineering has increased from 3.795 in 2019 to 4.765, but Mineral Processing & Extractive Metallurgy Review has shown a marked increase from 2.785 to 5.284, and I must congratulate the editor, Prof. Komar Kawatra of Michigan Technological University, for this remarkable achievement.

With Prof. Kawatra in Phoenix in 2020

Impact Factor is a measure of the frequency with which the 'average article' in a journal has been cited in a particular year and it has become a standard measurement of scientific success, particularly for decisions on hiring and promoting academics. An individual's impact factor is a score that takes into account the number of publications and the citation rate of the journals where those papers are published. This often leads scientists to publish their work in journals with a higher impact factor than those in which their paper might be viewed more widely by others. The table above contains only those journals publishing work in the same field, and it would be unfair to compare their impact factors with those of say Science or Nature, which cover a wide range of disciplines and so are very highly cited.

Among academic researchers, dissatisfaction with use and misuse of the impact factor in evaluations and tenure, promotion and hiring decisions has grown in recent years. A 2018 report called the impact factor “an inadequate measure for assessing the impact of scientists” and concluded that failure to modify the current assessment system is likely to lead to “continued bandwagon behaviour that has not always resulted in positive societal behaviour”. Despite this, a 2019 study found that 40% of research-intensive universities in the United States and Canada specifically mention impact factors or closely related terms in documents related to tenure, review and promotion. Only a few of those references strike a note of caution, and most suggest that a high impact score would be necessary for career advancement.

A recent article in Nature describes how IF is to be abandoned in 2022 by the Dutch University of Utrecht and faculty members will be evaluated by their commitment to teamwork and open science.

The decision to revamp hiring and promotion was partly inspired by the Declaration on Research Assessment, a document created in 2012 at the annual meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology. The declaration aims to “improve the ways in which researchers and the outputs of scholarly research are evaluated” and specifically calls for abandoning impact factors as a way to judge the merit of academics. So far, it has been signed by nearly 20,000 individuals and institutions. Utrecht University signed the document in 2019.

A statement from the University of Utrecht said “Impact factors don’t really reflect the quality of an individual researcher or academic. We have a strong belief that something has to change, and abandoning the impact factor is one of those changes.”

Interesting!  What do all you academics and researchers feel about this?



  1. Congrats Prof. S Komar Kawatra and thanks Barry Wills for all supports you provided for our discipline
    Saeed Chelgani, LuleƄ University of Technology, Sweden

    1. Barry Wills is a great person. I respect him a lot. I am glad that the Handbook which I edited has received a great attention. I am glad that Barry came for the reception for the Handbook.
      S Komar Kawatra, Michigan Technological University, USA

    2. Thanks Saeed and Komar, and congratulations once more Komar on your journal's high impact factor

  2. Congratulations and compliments to Prof.Kawatra for his perseverance to see that the Journal he edits reached greater I.F.
    Barry, in one of your Blogs I expressed my views that I.F. is making academicians to focus more on I.F because of the "promotional systems" adopted by the top brass of these Institutes.
    I really feel happy that a relook at this is being seriously looked into.
    For me, the mineral sciences and engineering need young brains to venture into new and innovative areas to make mineral industry more economical and environmentally acceptable.

  3. Think the SCImago journal ranking within the field of research far more sensible than IF.
    Jacques Eksteen, Future Battery Industries Cooperative Research Centre, Australia



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