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Impact Factor of Computer Science Journals 2014

The Thomson Reuters Web of Knowledge has published the 2014 Journal Citation Reports. Following similar studies I performed in the past eight years (2007, '08, '09, '10, '11, '12, '13, '14) 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 481 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

1IEEE T FUZZY SYST1063-67068.746
3INT J NEURAL SYST0129-06576.507
4IEEE T SYST MAN CY B1083-44196.220
5IEEE T PATTERN ANAL0162-88285.781
6IEEE WIREL COMMUN1536-12845.417
7MIS QUART0276-77835.311
8COMPUT-AIDED CIV INF1093-96874.925
9INTEGR COMPUT-AID E1069-25094.698
10J CHEMINFORMATICS1758-29464.547

As was the case in the previous years, IEEE maintains its lead here, but, in contrast to 2013, there are more journals from commercial publishers. Also notable is the appearance in the top-ten list of two journals covering computer-aided engineering: Computer-Aided Civil and Infrastructure Engineering (this was also in the list last year) and Integrated Computer-Aided Engineering. The ACM Computing Surveys, which used to appear in the top-ten list until 2012, is missing for a third year in a row.

Journals Added to the JCR in 2014

FOUND TRENDS INF RET1554-06691.857
ICGA J1389-69110.293
IET BIOMETRICS2047-49380.857
INT J SENS NETW1748-12790.920
MEMET COMPUT1865-92841.000
MOL INFORM1868-17431.647

A look in the journals of this list can give us an insight on our discipline's emerging topics: sensor networks (International Journal of Sensor Networks), evolutionary computation (Memetic Computing), entertainment (ICGA Journal, published by the International Computer Chess Association and the International Computer Games Association), bioinformatics (Molecular Informatics), and biometric technologies (IET Biometrics).

Journals Dropped from the JCR in 2014

NameISSNLast Year's IF
ANNU REV INFORM SCI0066-42001.727
COMPUT GRAPH WORLD0271-41590.000
IEEE T IND INFORM1551-32038.785
INT J COMPUT GEOM AP0218-19590.082
J SOFTW MAINT EVOL-R1532-060X1.320

It's always interesting when a journal with a high impact factor is dropped from the JCR list. Last year I commented that the magazine with the highest increase in its impact factor, IEEE Transactions on Industrial Informatics, owed 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. I also wrote that another 195 (102 and 93) citations came from the IEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics, up, again, from below 10 citations per year until 2009, and that significant citations and a rise in them in 2012 came from Enterprise Information Systems (27) and Mathematical Problems in Engineering (30). It could be that JCR made similar observations and decided to exclude the journal from its list this year.

On a personal note, as software engineering is one of the areas I' doing research in, I was saddened to see the Journal of software maintenance and evolution getting removed from the JCR listings.

Journals with the Highest Increase in their Impact Factor

IEEE T CYBERNETICS2168-22673.4693.469
IEEE T FUZZY SYST1063-67068.7462.44
IEEE T SYST MAN CY B1083-44196.2202.439
INT J BIO-INSPIR COM1758-03663.9692.288
IEEE T HUM-MACH SYST2168-22911.9821.982
IEEE J BIOMED HEALTH2168-21941.4401.44
ARTIF INTELL REV0269-28212.1111.216
J WEB SEMANT1570-82682.5501.173
METHOD INFORM MED0026-12702.2481.165
FUZZY OPTIM DECIS MA1568-45392.1631.163

Notable in this list are journals associated with the trend in bio-inspired computational methods: Fuzzy Optimization and Decision Making: A Journal of Modeling and Computation under Uncertainty, the IEEE Transactions on Fuzzy Systems, and the International Journal of Bio-Inspired Computation. These could also explain the corresponding appearance of a journal covering the wider field, The Artificial Intelligence Review.

The appearance of the two cybernetics journals in this list (IEEE Transactions on Cybernetics and IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics. Part B, Cybernetics) are probably the result of last year's title renaming exercise.

Journals with the Highest Decrease in their Impact Factor

ACM T INTEL SYST TEC2157-69041.252-8.138
IEEE T EVOLUT COMPUT1089-778X3.654-1.891
J ACM0004-54111.394-1.545
ACM T MATH SOFTWARE0098-35001.863-1.426
EVOL COMPUT1063-65602.366-1.367
IEEE NETWORK0890-80442.540-1.18
IEEE WIREL COMMUN1536-12845.417-1.107
KNOWL INF SYST0219-13771.782-0.857
MOB INF SYST1574-017X0.949-0.84
INT J WEB GRID SERV1741-11060.757-0.822

The ACM Transactions on Intelligent Systems and Technology was added to the JCR list only last year with an IF of 9.4, making it directly to the top of the list. Its large IF drop is probably a case of reversal to the mean.

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