Critics have long bashed Clarivate Analytics’s journal impact factor, complaining that the metric, which reports average citations per article, has methodological flaws that support misleading comparisons of journals and researchers. Today, the company unveiled an alternative metric that improves on some of these flaws by allowing more accurate comparisons of journals in different disciplines.
The new Journal Citation Indicator (JCI) accounts for the substantially different rates of publication and citation in different fields, Clarivate says. But the move is drawing little praise from the critics, who say the new metric remains vulnerable to misunderstanding and misuse.
The announcement comes as part of the company’s 2021 release of its Journal Citation Reports database. It includes the latest journal impact factors and other journal analytics. Among these is the new JCI, which averages citations gathered by a journal over 3 years of publications, compared with just 2 years for the impact factor. What’s more, Clarivate says the JCI includes journals not covered by the impact factor, including some in the arts and humanities, as well as regional journals or those from “emerging” scientific fields.