Impact Factor of Computer Science Journals 2012


The Thomson Reuters Web of Knowledge has published the 2012 Journal Citation Reports. Following similar studies I performed in the past six years (2007, '08, '09, '10, '11, '12) 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 467 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. 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

1ENTERP INF SYST-UK1751-75759.256
2IEEE T FUZZY SYST1063-67065.484
3INT J NEURAL SYST0129-06575.054
4J STAT SOFTW1548-76604.910
7IEEE T PATTERN ANAL0162-88284.795
8MIS QUART0276-77834.659
10COMPUT-AIDED CIV INF1093-96874.460

The first two journals in this list are surprising: neither I nor colleagues I talked to would expect them to be ranked so highly. Read more about this after I've presented all results from this year.

Journals Added to the JCR in 2012

ACM T STORAGE1553-30771.115
FRONT COMPUT SCI-CHI2095-22280.298
IEEE T NEUR NET LEAR2162-237X3.766
INT J BIO-INSPIR COM1758-03661.351
INT J CRIT INFR PROT1874-54820.630
IT PROF1520-92020.482
J MULTIMODAL USER IN1783-76770.833
J ORGAN END USER COM1546-22340.243
J ZHEJIANG U-SCI C1869-19510.297
NAT COMPUT1567-78180.683
R J2073-48590.825
SWARM INTELL-US1935-38120.640
WIRES DATA MIN KNOWL1942-47871.422

From the journals that were added to the JCR I find it notable that two journals from China-based publishers entered the list: Frontiers of Computer Science, published by the Higher Education Press (Beijing), and the Journal of Zhejiang University: Science C: Computers & electronics, published by the Zhejiang University Press (Hangzhou). Two other trends apparent from this list are bio-inspired computation (Natural Computing, International Journal of Bio-Inspired Computation, Swarm Intelligence) and user interfaces (Journal on Multimodal User Interfaces, Pervasive and Mobile Computing). I was also happy to see in the list The R Journal, published by the R Foundation for Statistical Computing, which covers the R free software environment for statistical computing and graphics.

Journals Dropped from the JCR in 2012

NameISSNLast Year's IF
DR DOBBS J1044-789X0.000
FRONT COMPUT SCI CHI1673-73500.266
IEEE T NEURAL NETWOR1045-92272.952
INT J SENS NETW1748-12791.386
INTELL AUTOM SOFT CO1079-85870.116
J ALGORITHMS0196-67740.500
J DATABASE MANAGE1063-80160.875
J OPT NETW1536-53791.079
J PARALLEL DISTR COM0743-73150.859
KNOWL INF SYST0219-13772.225
MOB INF SYST1574-017X2.432
QSAR COMB SCI1611-020X1.550
SCI CHINA SER F1009-27570.656

I was surprised to see three journals with a 2011 impact factor above two being dropped from the list: Knowledge and Information Systems: KAIS, Mobile Information Systems, and IEEE Transactions on Neural Networks. I've heard that Thomson Reuters harshly punishes journals that are found to be trying to manipulate their impact factors. Could this be such a case?

Journals with the Highest Increase in their Impact Factor

ENTERP INF SYST-UK1751-75759.2565.572
KNOWL-BASED SYST0950-70514.1041.682
IEEE T EVOLUT COMPUT1089-778X4.8101.469
DATA MIN KNOWL DISC1384-58102.8771.332
IEEE COMPUT INTELL M1556-603X4.6291.261
IEEE T FUZZY SYST1063-67065.4841.224
J INF TECHNOL0268-39623.5321.211
IEEE WIREL COMMUN1536-12843.7401.165
INT J DATA WAREHOUS1548-39241.3551.155
COMPUT-AIDED CIV INF1093-96874.4601.078

Journals with the Highest Decrease in their Impact Factor

INT J SEMANT WEB INF1552-62830.250-2.058
FOUND COMPUT MATH1615-33751.918-1.697
SIAM J IMAGING SCI1936-49542.966-1.69
IEEE COMMUN SURV TUT1553-877X4.818-1.493
NETWORK-COMP NEURAL0954-898X0.333-1.2
ACM COMPUT SURV0360-03003.543-0.986
INT J UNCERTAIN FUZZ0218-48850.886-0.895
COMPUT COMPLEX1016-33280.325-0.797
ANNU REV INFORM SCI0066-42002.174-0.781
SOFT COMPUT1432-76431.124-0.756

From the journals with the highest decrease in their impact factor notable is ACM Computing Surveys, which continues its 2012 drop of 3.2 points with another drop of one point to a still highly-respectable 3.5. It remains to be seen next year if this is just a reversal to the mean, as I posited last year, or it is a continuous trend.

Citations to the Two Highest-Ranked Journals

Digging deeper on how the two highest-ranked journals have gathered so many citations yields some surprising findings. A look at the author institutions of articles that cite papers in the Enterprise Information Systems reveals that 57% of them are from the Old Dominion University.

institutions of EIS citations

This is the workplace of the journal's Editor in Chief; there are many explanations on the relationship between the two facts.

institutions of EIS citations

A look at the journals that cite papers in the IEEE Transactions on Fuzzy Systems reveals that 22% of the citations come from the journal Mathematical Problems in Engineering

Journals of Fuzzy Systems citations

This is an open access journal that has published 715 articles in the first half of 2013.

2013 MPE articles

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