Impact factor and education journals: a critical examination and analysis
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Scientific journals are the primary mode of formal communication in science. The ISI Impact factor, a bibliometric indicator that measures the citation rate of the "average" article in a journal, has been widely used for the assessment of the quality of scientific production of individuals, research teams or institutions. The purpose of this paper was to present the impact factor, examine the main limitations in its calculation and applications and to give a general overview of the impact factor of education journals for the period 2000-2005. Several problems related to the calculation of the impact factor have raised serious concerns about its validity and usefulness. Our findings suggest that education journals included in the Journal Citation Reports (JCR) represent about 11% of the active, referred, academic journals. Education journals have relative low impact factors, in absolute values and in comparison to other Social Science categories. Application of the intraclass correlation coefficient showed that journals belonging to the "Education and Educational Research" category had relative stable impact factor values for the examined 6 years. This was not the case for the journals from the "Education, Special" category. It was concluded that the use of impact factor for the evaluation of journals, articles and researchers should be done with considerable care.
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