New impact factor and other numbers

Submitted by Johan on 14 August 2014.

About two weeks ago Thomson Reuters published their annual Journal Citation Report. For us editors this is a day of excited anticipation – even though most of us agree that this measure is far from perfect, it is the measure that is commonly used to compare journals in a field and we all want our journals to do well here. Therefore, we are of course very happy to see that our 2 year impact factor increase to 2.24 (last year 2.02) and that our 5 year impact factor remained largely unchanged at 2.42 (last year 2.44). Placing us as number 2 and number 1 in the category Ornithology (2 year and 5 year impact factor respectively).

But what does this mean?

The 2013 2 year impact factor measures how many times on average a paper published 2011-2012 was cited in 2013 and similarly the 5 year impact factor measures how many times on average a paper published 2008-2012 was cited in 2013. This does of course only give us a very brief snapshot of the citation life of a paper and as a comparison the average citation rate for JABs papers published 2011-2012 was 4.49 (including citations 2011-2014). We know that ornithology is a fairly slow and longlived field, compared to fields like e.g. medicine, and our papers do often continue to be cited for many years after being included in the impact factor.

If we look at total citations instead of yearly citations (as the impact factor does), we see that 98% of our papers gets cited within 3 years (looking at 5 years of data) and that around 33% of our papers have more than 10 citations after 5 years (4 papers reached 10+ citations already after 2 years!). If we expand the timespan further we see that 16 of our papers reached impressive 50+ citations within 10 years!

So, although I of course am very happy to see that our impact factor increases, these numbers are far more interesting to me. – They clearly show that we publish solid research that continues to be relevant for many many years and that more or less all our published papers gets cited. This success is of course thanks to all our authors, who continues to send us their exciting and ground breaking research and we are most grateful that you let us publish your work! We are of course also very grateful to all our referees, whose efforts continues to safeguard our scientific quality.

Why not take a few moments to look through some of these fascinating studies. Below you can find some examples of the fine work by our authors. First the top 5 cited papers the last 2 years, followed by the top 5 cited papers the last 5 years.  

Johan Nilsson, Managing Editor


Top 5 cited paper last 2 years

Jacquin et al. 2011 - Cited 27 times - Melanin-based coloration is related to parasite intensity and cellular immune response in an urban free living bird: the feral pigeon Columba livia

Asghar et al 2011 - Cited 23 times - Are chronic avian haemosporidian infections costly in wild birds?

Lattin et al. 2011 - Cited 21 times - Elevated corticosterone in feathers correlates with corticosterone-induced decreased feather quality: a validation study

Battley et al. 2012 - Cited 15 times - Contrasting extreme long-distance migration patterns in bar-tailed godwits Limosa lapponica

Prochazka et al. 2011 - Cited 14 times - Low genetic differentiation among reed warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus populations across Europe


Top 5 cited papers last 5 year

Wilkin et al. 2009 - Cited 41 times - Habitat quality, nestling diet, and provisioning behaviour in great tits Parus major

Schamber et al. 2009 - Cited 39 times - Evaluating the validity of using unverified indices of body condition

Griffith et al. 2009 - Cited 34 - Female infidelity and genetic compatibility in birds: the role of the genetically loaded raffle in understanding the function of extrapair paternity

Thaxter et al. 2009 - Cited 32 times - Sex-specific food provisioning in a monomorphic seabird, the common guillemot Uria aalge: nest defence, foraging efficiency or parental effort?

Kimball et al 2008 - Cited 33 times - A multigene phylogeny of Galliformes supports a single origin of erectile ability in non-feathered facial traits