The idea of impact factors was originally published by Dr. Eugene Garfield in a 1955 article in Science. Dr. Garfield and Irving H. Sher created journal impact factors in the early 60’s as a method for selecting journals for Science Citation Index at Thomson ISI (now Clarivate Analytics). Dr. Garfield indicated the need to compare journals regardless of their “size or citation frequency.” The impact factor quickly became the standard for evaluating the importance of journals in humanities and the sciences. Eventually, it became possible to search for impact factors through Journal Citation Reports, a stand-alone database. In 2005, Dr. Garfield presented a full history of the process at: http://garfield.library.upenn.edu/papers/jifchicago2005.pdf
Over the years, alternatives and other options to gauge impact of journals have evolved. In 2018 the UAMS Library canceled the subscription to Journal Citation Reports. Links to information and options are below.
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