Professional Development

25 - Impact Factor: What is it? III
Each scientific area has its own ranking of journals. In the area of Dermatology, the Journal of Investigative Dermatology leads the list, with an impact factor of 4.645. However, if we compare this factor with those of other renowned journals, such as the New England Journal of Medicine (IF = 29.065), Science (IF = 23.329) or The Lancet (IF = 13.251), it is clear that the impact factor of the Journal of Investigative Dermatology is 3 to 7 times lower. Thus, of a total of 5,748 journals included in the Journal Citation Report, the Journal of Investigative Dermatology is 268th the overall journal ranking.Obviously, a journal will have higher impact factors if it publishes reviews or articles in a new area where most of the work is focused. The authors must take these issues into account when evaluating journals by their impact factors. Impact factors are useful because of their global recognition (IF evaluates the use of an article by people from several countries), accessibility (easily available for consult) and predictive value (a higher IF usually means greater interest).Impact factors are used to evaluate the scientific information supplied by individuals or groups of people and the interest in publishing in or subscribing to a particular journal.