Microbiology Journals and Their Impact Factors

Impact factor (IF) is a measure of the frequency with which the average article in a journal has been cited in a particular year. It is used to sort or rank journals by their relative importance. It is assumed that journals with high IF publish articles that are cited more often than journals with lower IF.

The most notable source for journal impact factors is the annual publication called the Journal Citation Reports (JCR) published by Thomson Scientific. Among Microbiology journals, Nature Reviews Microbiology has the highest impact factor of 60.63 in 2020.

Some journals do not consider the Impact Factor to be a reliable or useful metric to assess the performance of individual articles and do not promote impact factors. For example, PLOS supports DORA – the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment – and does not promote our journal Impact Factors.

Calculation of Impact Factor

Thomson defines impact factor as, “The journal Impact Factor is the average number of times articles from the journal published in the past two years have been cited in the JCR year. The Impact Factor is calculated by dividing the number of citations in the JCR year by the total number of articles published in the two previous years.

A journal’s impact factor for 2020 would be calculated by taking the number of citations in 2020 to articles that were published in 2019 and 2018 and dividing that number by the total number of articles published in that same journal in 2019 and 2018.

For example; 

The number of cites in a journal named X in 2020 to items published in 2019 and 2018 are 1286 and 1134 respectively.

Cites to recent items = cites in 2019 + cites in 2018 = 1286+ 1134 = 2420

The number of articles published in that journal in the same period is 61 in 2019 and 59 in 2018.

Number of recent items = 61+ 59 = 120

Impact Factor = Cites to recent items/ Number of recent items = 2420/120 = 20.16

In that case, the impact factor of journal X in 2020 is 20.16.

2-year Journal Impact Factor: The Journal Impact Factor is defined as all citations to the journal in the current JCR year to items published in the previous two years, divided by the total number of scholarly items (these comprise articles, reviews, and proceedings papers) published in the journal in the previous two years.

An Impact Factor of 1.0 means that, on average, the articles published one or two year ago have been cited one time. An Impact Factor of 2.5 means that, on average, the articles published one or two year ago have been cited two and a half times. Citing articles may be from the same journal; most citing articles are from different journals

5-year Impact Factor: The 5-year journal Impact Factor is the average number of times articles from the journal published in the past five years have been cited in the JCR year. It is calculated by dividing the number of citations in the JCR year by the total number of articles published in the five previous years.

Use of Impact Factors

  • Authors use impact factors to decide where to submit their research article for publication.
  • Libraries use impact factors to make collection development decisions
  • Academic departments use impact factors to assess academic productivity and to make decisions on promotion & tenure of faculties.

Some Microbiology Journals and their Impact Factors in 2020

S.NName of Journal 2 year Impact Factor
1Nature Reviews Microbiology60.633
2Cell Host and Microbe21.02
3Annual Review of Microbiology15.5
4Nature Microbiology17.74
5Microbiology and Molecular Biology Reviews14.17
6FEMS Microbiology Reviews16.41
7Microbiome13.61
8Trends in Microbiology17.079
9ISME Journal10.3
10PLoS PathogensDoes not promote IF
11Current Opinion in Microbiology7.934
12mBio7.867
13Gut Microbes10.245
14mSystems6.49
15Soil Biology and Biochemistry5.29
16Journal of Virology4.501
17EcoSal Plus6.69
18Microbial genomics5.237
19Emerging Microbes and Infections5.842
20npj Biofilms and Microbiomes6.769
21Virus Evolution7.989
22Critical Reviews in Microbiology7.349
23Biology and Fertility of Soils5.85
24Epidemics3.239
25Environmental Microbiology4.933
26Virulence5.542
27Molecular Microbiology3.816
28Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology4.3
30Frontiers in Microbiology5.64
31Journal of Bacteriology3.219

About Acharya Tankeshwar 476 Articles
Hello, thank you for visiting my blog. I am Tankeshwar Acharya. Blogging is my passion. I am working as an Asst. Professor and Microbiologist at Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Patan Academy of Health Sciences, Nepal. If you want me to write about any posts that you found confusing/difficult, please mention in the comments below.

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