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2014.08.08

Impact Factor of Computer Science Journals 2013

The Thomson Reuters Web of Knowledge has published the 2013 Journal Citation Reports. Following similar studies I performed in the past sever years (2007, '08, '09, '10, '11, '12, '13) 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 476 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. You can learn more about the corresponding issues by reading the key points or the complete statement of the IEEE on the appropriate use of bibliometric indicators for the assessment of journals, research proposals, and individuals. Also note that in computer science there are tens of prestigious conferences. For a ranking of these conferences you may wish to consult the Conference Ranking Exercise performed by the Australian Government's, Excellence in Research for Australia body.

Journals with the Highest Impact Factor

RankNameISSNIF
1ACM T INTEL SYST TEC2157-69049.390
2IEEE T IND INFORM1551-32038.785
3IEEE WIREL COMMUN1536-12846.524
4IEEE COMMUN SURV TUT1553-877X6.490
5IEEE T FUZZY SYST1063-67066.306
6INT J NEURAL SYST0129-06576.056
7IEEE T PATTERN ANAL0162-88285.694
8COMPUT-AIDED CIV INF1093-96875.625
9IEEE T EVOLUT COMPUT1089-778X5.545
10MIS QUART0276-77835.405

Interestingly, just one of the journals with the highest impact factor comes from a commercial publisher: Computer-aided civil and infrastructure engineering, which is published by Wiley-Blackwell. All the rest are published by professional or academic institutions: IEEE (6 titles), ACM, Oxford University Press, and the Society for Management Information Systems.

Seven journals in this list were also in the top-ten list last year. The newcomers are IEEE Wireless Communications, IEEE Transactions on Industrial Informatics, and ACM Transactions on Intelligent Systems and Technology. The Enterprise Information Systems journal, on whose strange appearance at the top of the top-ten list I commented last year, has no longer its impact factor published by Thomson Reuters. I leave the reasons behind its disappearance from the Journal Citation Reports as an exercise to the reader.

The ACM Computing Surveys, which used to appear in the top-ten list until 2012, is missing for a second year in a row.

Journals Added to the JCR in 2013

NameISSNIF
ACM SIGCOMM COMP COM0146-48331.102
ACM T INTEL SYST TEC2157-69049.390
CRYPTOGR COMMUN1936-24470.647
IEEE DES TEST2168-23561.140
IEEE J BIOMED HEALTH2168-2194
IEEE T AFFECT COMPUT1949-30453.466
IEEE T CYBERNETICS2168-2267
IEEE T HUM-MACH SYST2168-2291
IEEE T SYST MAN CY-S2168-22162.169
INT J COMPUT INT SYS1875-68910.451
INT J INF TECH DECIS0219-62201.890
INT J WAVELETS MULTI0219-69130.694
INTELL AUTOM SOFT CO1079-85870.189
J COMPUT SCI-NETH1877-75031.567
J DATABASE MANAGE1063-80160.903
J PARALLEL DISTR COM0743-73151.011
J SIMUL1747-77780.383
KNOWL INF SYST0219-13772.639
MOB INF SYST1574-017X1.789

Three of the journals added to the JRC in 2013 don't have an impact factor included in the list, although they do have both citations (26, 116, 23) and articles (116, 179, 56) in 2013. This can be explained by the following renaming exercise performed by the IEEE Systems, Man, and Cybernetics Society.
Old NameNew Name
IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON SYSTEMS, MAN, AND CYBERNETICS
PART A: SYSTEMS AND HUMANS
IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON SYSTEMS, MAN, AND CYBERNETICS: SYSTEMS
IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON SYSTEMS, MAN, AND CYBERNETICS PART
B: CYBERNETICS
IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON CYBERNETICS
IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON SYSTEMS, MAN, AND CYBERNETICS
PART C: APPLICATIONS AND REVIEWS
IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON HUMAN–MACHINE SYSTEMS

The publication IEEE Journal of Biomedical and Health Informatics also comes from renaming IEEE Transactions on Information Technology in Biomedicine. The renamed journals obtained a new ISSN, which, apparently, reset their impact factor. Keep that in mind, when coming up with a very specific and trendy new journal title, or when deciding to change a journal's name. The Part B and Part C journals also appear in the 2013 JCR, while Part A seems to have been dropped with that name (see below).

Journals Dropped from the JCR in 2013

NameISSNLast Year's IF
APPL INTELL0924-669X1.853
BIOMED ENG-APP BAS C1016-23720.233
COMPUT COMMUN REV0146-48330.909
COMPUT MATH APPL0898-12212.069
ENTERP INF SYST-UK1751-75759.256
ICGA J1389-69110.519
IEEE DES TEST COMPUT0740-74751.623
IEEE T SYST MAN CY A1083-44272.183
INFORM TECHNOL LIBR0730-92950.595
J RES PRACT INF TECH1443-458X0.222

I have already commented about the disappearance of the Enterprise Information Systems journal, with a stellar 2012 impact factor of 9.256 in the first section of this entry.

Journals with the Highest Increase in their Impact Factor

NameISSNIFΔ IF
IEEE T IND INFORM1551-32038.7855.404
IEEE WIREL COMMUN1536-12846.5242.784
IEEE COMMUN SURV TUT1553-877X6.4901.672
EVOL COMPUT1063-65603.7331.624
ACM T MATH SOFTWARE0098-35003.2891.355
INTEGR COMPUT-AID E1069-25094.6671.297
INFORM FUSION1566-25353.4721.21
ARCH COMPUT METHOD E1134-30604.1361.205
SWARM INTELL-US1935-38121.8331.193
COMPUT-AIDED CIV INF1093-96875.6251.165

Worryingly, the magazine with the highest increase in its impact factor, IEEE Transactions on Industrial Informatics, owes most of the increase to citations published in the same magazine: 514 (35% of 1432) self cites to years used in the impact factor calculation. Without these self cites its impact factor would be 5.632, rather than 8.785. The hundreds of yearly self-citations used to be below 50 up until 2008. Another 195 (102 and 93) citations come from the IEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics, up, again, from below 10 citations per year until 2009. Significant citations and a rise in them in 2012 come from Enterprise Information Systems (27) and Mathematical Problems in Engineering (30); I commented on both of these journals last year.

From the magazines with the highest increase in their impact factor IEEE Wireless Communications and Computer-Aided Civil and Infrastructure Engineering appear in the list for the second year in a row. Other than that, IEEE Computational Intelligence Magazine and Swarm Intelligence revert to the mean, after appearing on the journals with the highest decrease in their impact factor last year.

Journals with the Highest Decrease in their Impact Factor

NameISSNIFΔ IF
IEEE COMPUT INTELL M1556-603X2.706-1.923
DATA MIN KNOWL DISC1384-58101.743-1.134
J STAT SOFTW1548-76603.801-1.109
KNOWL-BASED SYST0950-70513.058-1.046
IEEE T SYST MAN CY C1094-69771.526-1.022
IEEE T AUTON MENT DE1943-06041.348-0.822
COMPUT PHYS COMMUN0010-46552.407-0.671
ARTIF INTELL REV0269-28210.895-0.67
IEEE T RELIAB0018-95291.657-0.636
ACM T COMPUT-HUM INT1073-05160.574-0.605

In this table we seem to have a case of means reversal for Knowledge-based systems, which appeared in the journals with the highest increases last year.

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