Are Impact Factors Comparable? Impact Factor Comparisons Across Areas of Psychology

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Brigham Young University - Provo

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van der Horst, Jason J.
Brigham Young University - Provo
impact factor; psychology department; faculty evaluation; Psychology
thesis / dissertation description
Journal impact factors play an increasing role in academics as a tool for evaluating faculty, research, and resource allocations. These evaluations may be effective in departments where the subject matter is reasonably unified. However, given the diversity found within the subject matter of psychology, the impact factors of journals may not be comparable across the various areas. This study compares the average impact factors across decile levels of journals from seven areas of psychology. It is found that impact factor scores are not comparable across the seven areas of psychology. This difference is more pronounced when looking at higher decile journals. Further research could be conducted to investigate differences among psychology areas using other bibliographic variables, including some of the newer indices of individual scholar productivity, such as the h-index.