Image of International Journal of Avian Science cover adThomson-Reuters Journal Impact Factors were published this week and the IBIS 2-year IF (the standard IF metric) is now 2.279, up from 1.804 last year, with IBIS now ranked to 2 out of 24 journal listed in Ornithology (from 3rd).

Steve Dudley

The 2-year IF, as the name suggests, covers only two years of citations. Two years is not a long time and whilst it might be a relatively accurate measure for some fast-moving fields like medicine, but things move at a much slower pace in ornithology, with few dramatic changes in the field over such a short period of time. The 5-year IF is probably a more accurate measure for ornithology (and wider ecology) journals and our 5-year IF is now 2.169 placing us 3rd in Ornithology. Perhaps a 10-year IF would be even more appropriate as many of our papers of the last 10 years continue to be cited. Read more about how these IFs are calculated here.

Ornithology 2016 IF table

If we look longer term, IBIS has for a long time been in the top group of Ornithology journals. The difference between any in this top group of journals in any one year can be as little as a handful of cites or several fewer papers published. So overall this means that we are continuing to do something right and our papers are being read and cited. I don’t know of many journal editors or managers who really get hung up on these rankings as we know their limitations and how sensitive they are to small changes in output and citations.

Dudley Altmetric circle scoreAnother component that should now be impacting on citations and Impact Factors is altmetrics. The Altmetric Attention Score of a paper measures the online impact of a paper and, like citation-based metrics, provides a list of online sources (news media, social media, blogs, etc.) where a paper is mentioned.

We’ve championed the benefits of using social media to promote your research, and so contributing to your own research article’s altmetrics, and increasing numbers of researchers now actively promote their research on platforms such as Twitter alongside the promotion we ourselves do for IBIS papers. The impact of altmetrics on citations is now being seen in some sectors and is likely to have an increasing impact in ornithology in coming years.

The continued success of IBIS is very much a team effort, and the Chair of our IBIS Management Committee, Jen Smart, has recently written about how many people are involved in the process of reviewing, editing and managing manuscripts for IBIS. We’d to thank our entire journal community – authors, reviewers, editorial board and journal managers for playing an important role in maintain IBIS as one of the opt journals in ornithology.

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Steve Dudley, the BOU’s Senior Administrator of 20 years, has overall responsibility for the day to day running of the BOU and all our activities including social media and communications.

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