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Impact Factor of Computer Science Journals 2010

The Thomson Reuters Web of Knowledge has published the 2010 Journal Citation Reports. Following similar studies I performed in 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010, here is my analysis of the current status and trends for the impact factor of computer science journals.

Let me start with an overview of the method I followed. I performed my analysis on the 449 journals appearing under the Web of Knowledge's computer science subject categories: artificial intelligence; cybernetics; hardware & architecture; information systems; interdisciplinary applications; software engineering; theory & methods. Note that journals may appear in many categories. In particular, there are many overlaps between the above categories and "electrical and electronic engineering" and "operations research and management science".

Don't take this report too seriously. The impact factor is notoriously prone to misuse; let's not make the situation worse. Also note that in computer science there are tens of prestigious conferences whose impact factor has been calculated to be higher than that of most journals.

Journals with Highest IF

1ACM COMPUT SURV0360-03007.806
2MIS QUART0276-77835.041
3IEEE T PATTERN ANAL0162-88285.027
4INT J COMPUT VISION0920-56914.930
5IBM J RES DEV0018-86464.863
7SIAM J IMAGING SCI1936-49544.279
8MED IMAGE ANAL1361-84154.248
9INT J NEURAL SYST0129-06574.237
10HUM-COMPUT INTERACT0737-00244.000

In the preceding table we see that journals by for-profit publishers, which started appearing en masse in the list last year, are here to stay. This year again we have three journals from this category: Human-Computer Interaction (Lawrence Erlbaum Associates), International Journal of Computer Vision (Kluwer), and International Journal of Neural Systems (World Scientific). Also interesting is that the list includes three signal-processing journals: International Journal of Computer Vision, SIAM journal on Imaging Sciences, and Medical Image Analysis. This is probably a spillover effect from the higher impact factor observed in life science journals.

Journals Added to the JCR in 2010

ACM T ALGORITHMS1549-63250.932
BIOMED ENG-APP BAS C1016-23720.188
COMPUT SCI INF SYST1820-02140.324
COMPUT SPEECH LANG0885-23081.353
COMPUT SUPP COOP W J0925-97240.487
EARTH SCI INFORM1865-04730.657
INFORM VISUAL1473-87161.341
INT ARAB J INF TECHN1683-31980.065
INT J NETW MANAG1055-71480.323
INT J WEB GRID SERV1741-11060.978
J AMB INTEL SMART EN1876-13641.500
J COMPUT INFORM SYST0887-44170.822
J GRID COMPUT1570-78731.556
J REAL-TIME IMAGE PR1861-82000.962
MALAYS J COMPUT SCI0127-90840.364
NEW REV HYPERMEDIA M1361-45680.650
OPT SWITCH NETW1573-42770.962
PEER PEER NETW APPL1936-64420.417
ROM J INF SCI TECH1453-82450.188
SECUR COMMUN NETW1939-01140.356
SIAM J IMAGING SCI1936-49544.279
TURK J ELECTR ENG CO1300-06320.286

With 24 new journals in the list this year's pace is lower than last year's, but higher than the average rate of 18 journals per year that was the case for 2006 to 2008. However, this year's story is the international flavor of the added journals. Five journals that serve area or country-specific audiences were added to the list:

  • The International Arab Journal of Information Technology,
  • Malaysian Journal of Computer Science,
  • Romanian Journal of Information Science and Technology,
  • Science China. Information Sciences, and
  • Elektrik : Turkish journal of Electrical Engineering & Computer Sciences.
All of them join the list with relatively low impact factors. One thus wonders whether factors other than scientific impact, such as regional coverage, come into play when the staff at Thomson Reuters decide which journals to index. Finally, continuing the tradition of the past four years, the list includes one more security-oriented publication: Wiley's Security and Communication Networks. (For the title to make sense, you have to read it as formatted on the journal's cover: SECURITY and Communication Networks.)

Journals Dropped from the JCR in 2010

NameISSNLast Year's IF
ENG INTELL SYST ELEC1472-89150.205
J COMPUT-AIDED MATER0928-10451.302
J HIGH SPEED NETW0926-68010.379
J VLSI SIG PROC SYST0922-57730.732

In case you're wondering why the two journals with an impact factor above 1 were dropped, the answer is simple: none has published an issue from 2008 onward.

Journals with the Highest Increase in IF

IBM J RES DEV0018-86462.344
INT J INF TECH DECIS0219-62201.827
INT J COMPUT VISION0920-56911.422
INT J NEURAL SYST0129-06571.249
COMPUT-AIDED CIV INF1093-96871.181
INT J COMPUT INT SYS1875-68831.159
MED IMAGE ANAL1361-84151.155
J OPT COMMUN NETW1943-06201.128
COMPUT MUSIC J0148-92671.102

The list includes many journals that cover computer science applications; a sign of a maturing and less introspective discipline. Two journals in the list, the International Journal of Computer Vision and the IBM Journal of Research and Development, regain the significant ground they lost last year.

Journals with the Highest Decrease in IF

COMPUT INTELL0824-7935-4.674
VLDB J1066-8888-2.319
ENTERP INFORM SYST1751-7575-2.023
DATA MIN KNOWL DISC1384-5810-1.712
QSAR COMB SCI1611-020X-1.62
IEEE T SOFTWARE ENG0098-5589-1.534
INT J INNOV COMPUT I1349-4198-1.268
QUANTUM INF COMPUT1533-7146-1.095
EXPERT SYST APPL0957-4174-0.984

The story here is the The VLDB Journal: The International Journal on Very Large Data Bases, whose impact factor fell from 6.8 in 2008, to 4.5 in 2009, to 2.1 in 2010; the lowest value from 2005 onward. The list also includes three journals that publish AI-related research: Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery, Expert Systems with Applications, and Computational Intelligence; a troubling sign for the AI community. Finally, for the second year in a row the list includes a software engineering journal. Last year it was the ACM Transactions on Software Engineering and Methodology, this year it's the IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering. Taking also into account this year's significant fall in the impact factor of the, more practitioner-oriented, IEEE Software magazine, the outlook for software engineering doesn't look hot either.

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