A metric known as the “journal impact factor” has become hugely important in international scientific publishing. But when it comes to measuring Arab research quality, the metric comes up lacking.
The impact factor attempts to measure the importance of refereed scientific journals in their research fields. A journal’s perceived importance increases with its impact factor.
For years, however, there was no way to measure the impact of journalsthat publish new research in Arabic. Given the lack of global interest in calculating Arab journals’ impact factors, new impact factors had to be created.
The History of the Impact Factor
Eugene Garfield’s Institute for Scientific Information introduced the first science citation index in the 1960s. Twenty years later, the institute began using the citation index to determine the journal impact factor (JIF). That criterion was then used to classify scientific journals, and direct researchers’ interest to publishing in the most highly ranked ones.
The online version of the index is part of a set of databases known as the “Web of Science”, which is now owned by the American analytics company Clarivate. It included more than 10,000 journals by the 1990s.
This effort was followed by a number of other databases. They include Elsevier’s Scopus index, which by 2004 included more than 15,000 journals, and Google Scholar, which seeks to provide an index of information on every scholarly publication.