June 29, 2012

Impact Factor Boxing 2012

Rocky Balboa  Philadelphia, PA

Rocky Balboa, Philadelphia, PA. Creative Commons licensed picture by seng1011 (steve eng) on Flickr.

[This post is part of an ongoing series about impact factors]

In the world of abused performance metrics, the impact factor is the undisputed heavyweight champion of the (publishing) world.

It has been an eventful year in the boxing ring of scientific publishing since the last set of figures were published by Thomson-Reuters. A brand new journal called PeerJ launched with a radical publish ’til you perish business model [1]. There’s another new journal on the way too in the shape of eLifeSciences – with it’s own significant differences from current publishing models. Then there was the Finch report on Open Access. If that wasn’t enough fun, there’s been the Alternative metrics “Altmetrics” movement gathering pace [2], alongside suggestions that the impact factor may be losing its grip on the supposed “title” [3].

The impact factors below are the most recent, published June 28th 2012, covering data from 2011. Love them or loathe them, use them or abuse them, game them or shame them … here is a tiny selection of impact factors for the 10,675 journals that are tracked in Journal Citation Reports (JCR) ordered by increasing punch power.

WARNING: Abusing these figures can seriously damage your Science – you have been warned! Normal caveats apply, see nature.com/metrics.

Journal 2011 data from isiknowledge.com/JCR Eigenfactor™ Metrics
Total Cites Impact Factor 5-Year Impact Factor Immediacy Index Articles Cited Half-life Eigenfactor™ Score Article Influence™ Score
Russian Journal of Cardiology* 3 0.005 0.000 75 0.00000
BMC Bioinformatics 14268 2.751 3.493 0.293 557 4.2 0.07757 1.314
PLoS ONE 75544 4.092 4.537 0.437 13781 2.4 0.50216 1.797
Briefings in Bioinformatics 2859 5.202 7.749 0.692 65 4.3 0.01129 2.857
PLoS Computational Biology 8924 5.215 5.844 0.710 407 3.1 0.06968 2.722
OUP Bioinformatics 43380 5.468 6.051 0.666 707 6.2 0.15922 2.606
Nucleic Acids Research 106520 8.026 7.417 2.016 1230 7.4 0.30497 3.003
Genome Biology 15556 9.036 7.896 1.550 151 5.2 0.08221 4.124
PLoS Biology 20579 11.452 13.630 2.461 180 4.6 0.14975 7.830
Science 480836 31.201 32.452 6.075 871 9.4 1.41282 17.508
Nature 526505 36.280 36.235 9.690 841 9.4 1.65658 20.353
New England Journal of Medicine 232068 53.298 50.075 11.484 349 7.8 0.66466 21.293
CA – A Cancer Journal for Clinicians** 10976 101.780 67.410 21.263 19 3.8 0.04502 24.502

* The Russian Journal of Cardiology is included here for reference as it has the lowest non-zero impact factor of any science journal. A rather dubious honour…

** The Cancer Journal for Clinicians is the highest ranked journal in science, it is included here for reference. Could it be the first journal to have an impact factor of more than 100?


  1. Richard Van Noorden (2012). Journal offers flat fee for ‘all you can publish’, Nature, 486 (7402) 166. DOI: 10.1038/486166a
  2. Jason Priem, Heather Piwowar and Bradley Hemminger (2012).  Altmetrics in the wild: Using social media to explore scholarly impact arxiv.org/abs/1203.4745
  3. George Lozano, Vincent Lariviere and Yves Gingras (2012). The weakening relationship between the Impact Factor and papers’ citations in the digital age arxiv.org/abs/1205.4328

July 26, 2010

Please Sir, I want some more Science!

Science Online London 2010 (soloconf)Science Online London (#solo10 September 3-4, 2010) is an annual gathering of people interested in the use of web technologies for scientific collaboration and communication.  The organisers at Mendeley, Nature Network and The British Library continue to do a great job of hosting this important gathering, now in its third year:

I’ve been the last two years (2008 and 2009), and it has been worth attending because of the mix speakers, delegates and topics covered. This year includes talks from:

See the impressive full programme here. Reading through the speaker list I wondered, where are all the scientists at science online this year? At the time of writing this, 12 of the 13 speakers are politicians, publishers or journalists with scientist Peter Murray-Rust the odd man out. I’ve nothing against politicians, publishers or journalists but it would be great to have a more balanced event this year. The UK is full of high-profile scientists with blogs who would probably jump at the opportunity to speak at this event. So:

Or as the skeptical Sid Rodrigues said “this looks like fun, needs more nerds though“…

August 24, 2009

I bet you think this blog is about you, don’t you?

Science Online London 2009Last Saturday, The Royal Institution of Great Britain (R.I.) hosted a conference called Science Online London (#solo09) co-organised by mendeley.com and network.nature.com. The event centred around the fantastic Faraday Theatre which according to the R.I. is a “beautiful, historic theatre [which] has deeply raked seating that creates an intimate atmosphere, even when full to capacity”. Absolutely. Just like last year, this event attracted delegates and speakers from a wide range of backgrounds in science, publishing and communication from around the world. This post is an approximately alphabetically ordered link-fest of some of the people involved. People are, after all, the most interesting thing about any conference. If you’re not listed here it’s not because I don’t like you (honest!) it’s because we didn’t speak or I didn’t listen or (unlike many people) you’re not vain enough [1] to have a have a blog (yet) 🙂

Now I’m told the presentations mentioned above will be on Nature Precedings in due course, which will be good. Thanks to all the organisers, speakers and participants this year that made Science Online London 2009 well worth attending. Hopefully see some more of you again next year!


  1. Carly Simon (1972) You’re So Vain
  2. Geoffrey Bilder (2006). In Google We Trust? Journal of Electronic Publishing, 9 (1) DOI: 10.3998/3336451.0009.101
  3. Matt Brown (2008). Venerable institute gets a refit Nature, 453 (7195), 568-569 DOI: 10.1038/453568a
  4. Matt Brown (2008). Reimagining the Royal Institution Nature, 453 (7195), 595-595 DOI: 10.1038/453595a
  5. Duncan Hull (2009). Slides from the author identity session: Authenticating Scientists with OpenID
  6. Jennifer Rohn and Richard P. Grant (2009). Pre-conference video: Live Roof Surfing at Mendeley Fringe Frivolous

November 17, 2008

Science blog meme: Why do we blog?

Keep Calm and Carry On via AJC1I have been virally infected by Martin Fenner’s “why do we blog” meme.

1. What is your blog about?

Science and technology, especially bioinformatics, systems biology and the Web. It is a personal laboratory notebook-cum-diary, with a few facts and many opinions that would be difficult to publish conventionally [1].

2. What will you never write about?

Banal personal trivia (“I went shopping today”), confidential work, collaborative projects before they have been published. If in doubt, I try to ask people, “is it OK if I blog this?”

3. Have you ever considered leaving science?

Already did, I left science after my undergraduate degree to work in industry, but came back after six years to do a PhD. I don’t think Science ever really leaves you, once a scientist, always a scientist. Can’t see myself “leaving” again, but you never know.

4. What would you do instead?

Tend olive trees in Greece. Sequence 10,000 + Olive tree genomes, do some olive tree systems biology [2]. Subsidise scientific research with money from olive oil export business.

5. What do you think will science blogging be like in 5 years?

Pretty much the same as it is now I reckon, maybe more senior scientists will start blogging, see big boffins with blogs.

6. What is the most extraordinary thing that happened to you because of blogging?

I’m pretty sure blogging was a significant factor in being invited to Science Foo Camp (scifoo)

7. Did you write a blog post or comment you later regretted?

Non, rien de rien. Non, je ne regrette rien. Some of the posts about semantic web and molecular biology I might come to regret in the future though, but life is too short. There is an ever present temptation to write controversial blog posts (that might be regretted later) to get more visitors to your blog. Sometimes I can’t resist. Also, there is no safety net of peer-review, so you can make mistakes very quickly, even faster than by drinking tequila. I often wonder what prospective employers and/or funding bodies would make of it all – by the time I find out, it might be too late 🙂

8. When did you first learn about science blogging?

Via nodalpoint which is run by Greg Tyrelle.

9. What do your colleagues at work say about your blogging?

So far, there have been five basic responses to my blog among colleagues.

a) Great idea, carry on (see picture, top right). Can you blog this for me?

b) Bad idea, why do you waste so much time blogging? When are you going to do some “real” work?

c) Teasing: “I’m drinking a coffee, are you blogging this?”

d) Head-in-the-sand, no acknowledgment, denial, look the other way.

e) Ignorance is bliss. What is a blog? Do you have one of those interweb things on your computer?


  1. Michael R. Seringhaus and Mark B. Gerstein (2007). Publishing perishing? towards tomorrow’s information architecture. BMC Bioinformatics 8, 17+. DOI:10.1186/1471-2105-8-17, pmid:17239245
  2. Royston Goodacre, Douglas B Kell, Giorgio Bianchi (1992). Neural networks and olive oil. Nature 359 (6396), 594. DOI:10.1038/359594a0

[Keep Calm and Carry On via AJC1]

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