EDP Sciences

Remark on impact factor (April 2003)

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There is the widespread impression that Astronomy & Astrophysics has a smaller impact, as measured by citations to its articles, than some of the other major astronomy journals. This impression is apparently supported by the Journal Citation Report (JCR), which is prepared annually by the ISI Web of Knowledge; in the JCR statistics, A&A indeed shows a considerably lower impact factor than some of the other main journals in the field.

The Board of Directors of Astronomy & Astrophyics has now received information from the ISI Web of Knowledge that the impact factor statistics is seriously flawed. Owing to the short abbreviation(A&A) with which articles in Astronomy & Astrophyics are usually cited, and the possible non-uniqueness of this abbreviation among the scientific journals covered by the JCR, these are not counted. A similar situation occurred with The Astrophysical Journal, for which the three-letter abrreviation (ApJ) had been considered too challenging. After accounting for citations with ApJ, the impact factor of The Astrophysical Journal increased by more than a factor of two from 2000 to 2001.

After contacting the ISI Web of Knowledge, the Chairman of the Board of Directors was assured that the situation will be changed, and that in the future, the abbreviation A&A will be counted for the citations. In-house studies at the ISI Web of Knowledge have shown that very little confusion arises through this, and, more importantly, after accounting for these citations, the impact factor of Astronomy & Astrophyics becomes comparable to that of the other major astronomy journals.

Aa. Sandqvist,
Chairman of the Board of Directors