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Clin Dermatol. 2017 May - Jun;35(3):331-334. doi: 10.1016/j.clindermatol.2016.07.012. Epub 2016 Aug 25.

Impact factor: Universalism and reliability of assessment.

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Department of Ophthalmology, Poznan City Hospital, Poznan, Poland; Department of Ophthalmology, University of Warmia and Mazury, Olsztyn, Poland. Electronic address:
Department of Ethics and Human Philosophy, Medical University, Lublin, Poland.


In 1955, Eugene Garfield (1925-1917) published a paper in Science where for the first time he advocated the necessity of introducing parameters to assess the quality of scientific journals. Underlying this necessity was an observation of a trend where the whole area of influence in academic publishing was dominated by a narrow group of large interdisciplinary research journals. For this reason, along with Irving H. Sher, they created the impact factor (IF), also called the Garfield impact factor, journal citation rate, journal influence, and journal impact factor. The concept of IF concerns a research discipline called bibliometrics, which uses mathematical and statistical methods to analyze scientific publications. Established by Garfield in 1963, the Science Citation Index, a record of scientific publications and citations therein, contributed directly to the increased importance of this method. Since the 1960s, the register of scientific publications has expanded and their evaluation by the IF has become a fundamental and universal measure of the journal's value. Contrary to the authors' intentions in the creation of the index (IF), it is often used to assess the quality of contributions, simultaneously assessing the authors' achievements or academic career and academic institutions' funding possibilities.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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