, Volume 98, Issue 2, pp 1113–1130 | Cite as

The effect of additional citations in the stability of Journal Citation Report categories

  • Juan Miguel Campanario
  • William Cabos


We use a new approach to study the ranking of journals in JCR categories. The objectives of this study were to empirically evaluate the effect of increases in citations on the computation of the journal impact factor (JIF) for a large set of journals as measured by changes in JIF, and to ascertain the influence of additional citations on the rank order of journals according their new JIFs within JCR groups. To do so, modified JIFs were computed by adding additional citations to the number used by Thomson-Reuters to compute the JIF of journals listed in the JCR for 2008. We considered the effect on rank order of a given journal of adding 1, 2, 3 or more citations to the number used to compute the JIF, keeping everything else equal (i.e., without changing the JIF of other journals in a given group). The effect of additional citations on the internal structure of rankings in JCR groups increased with the number of citations added. In about one third of JCR groups, about half the journals changed their rank order when 1–5 citations were added. However, in general the rank order tended to be relatively stable after small increases in citations.


Journal impact factor Journal citation report Citations Journal rankings 



We thank K. Shashok for improving the use of English in the manuscript and two anonymous referees for their suggestions.

Supplementary material

11192_2013_1116_MOESM1_ESM.doc (242 kb)
Table a Percentage of journals in each JCR group that experienced a change in CR when JIF1 was computed. (DOC 241 kb)
11192_2013_1116_MOESM2_ESM.doc (320 kb)
Table b Percentage of journals in each JCR group that experienced a change in CR when JIF5 was computed. (DOC 319 kb)
11192_2013_1116_MOESM3_ESM.doc (396 kb)
Table c Percentage of journals in each JCR group that experienced a change in CR when JIF10 was computed. (DOC 396 kb)
11192_2013_1116_MOESM4_ESM.doc (264 kb)
Table d Percentage of journals in every JCR group that needed a minimum of 1, 2, 3 or more citations (up to 10) to improve their rank order. (DOC 263 kb)
11192_2013_1116_MOESM5_ESM.doc (208 kb)
Table e Mean of CR1, CR5 and CR10 for each group and quartile in JCR group with 50 or more journals. (DOC 208 kb)


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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de Física y MatemáticasUniversidad de AlcaláAlcalá de HenaresSpain

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