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Elsevier Impact Factors Compiled in 2014 for Journals in Exercise and Sports Medicine and Science

Will G Hopkins

Sportscience 19, 72-81, 2015 (sportsci.org/2015/wghif.htm)
Institute of Sport Exercise and Active Living, Victoria University, Melbourne 8001, Australia. Email.
Reviewer: David Pyne, Australian Institute of Sport, Canberra, ACT, Australia. Email.

Elsevier's impact per paper (IPP) is almost identical to the Thomson-Reuters' impact factor for the journals in exercise and sports medicine and science (a correlation of 0.98 and higher by only 0.17 ± 0.27, mean ± SD, in 2013). Elsevier also publishes the subject-normalized impact per paper (SNIP), an impact factor adjusted for research activity in a given subject area. The adjustment is not particularly successful, because the correlation between the IPP and the SNIP is too high (0.88 in 2014). Nevertheless the rank order of the journals differs somewhat between the IPP and the SNIP. In this article I present the IPP for 2012-2014 and the SNIP for 2014. The 2014 IPP medalists were Exercise and Immunology Review (6.9) Sports Medicine (5.6) and American Journal of Sports Medicine (4.9), while the SNIP medalists were Sports Medicine (3.0), Exercise and Immunology Review (3.0) and International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology (2.3).

KEYWORDS: citation, publication, research.

Reprint pdf · IPP/SNIP Spreadsheet · Reviewer's Comments

 

This article represents my annual summary of the latest impact factors of journals in the discipline of sport and exercise medicine and science. This year I have switched from the Thomson-Reuters impact factor to the equivalent Elsevier factor, the impact per publication (IPP, their abbreviation), derived from the Scopus database. Elsevier allows free access to its citation statistics (at Journal Metrics), and the statistics are available in a convenient spreadsheet with all previous years included, whereas access to the Thomson-Reuters' factors is awkward and requires an institutional subscription. Thomson-Reuters also restricted the amount of information I could show, so I had to resort to inequalities for some factors and color coding to show changes.

The Elsevier impact factor is calculated from citations in a wider range of journals than that of Thomson-Reuters, which will tend to make its factor higher than Thomson-Reuters'. On the other hand, the Elsevier factor is calculated as the citations per article in the given journal over three years rather than Thomson-Reuters' two years, which will tend to make the Elsevier factor smaller (because impact factors three years ago were on average lower than in the previous two years). Earlier this year I compared the two factors for the journals in our discipline compiled from citations in journals published in 2013. In scatter plots it was clear that the comparison was better performed with raw data than with log-transformed data. In the plots, the values for Exercise and Immunology Review and International Journal of Epidemiology were clearly off the trend, with values that were much higher for Thomson-Reuters than for Elsevier. After deletion of these two outlier journals, the Elsevier factor was a little higher than the Thomson-Reuters factor (by 0.17 ± 0.27, mean ± SD). The correlation between the two factors was 0.98, and the standard error of the estimate for predicting an Elsevier value from the Thomson-Reuters was 0.27 (so the equivalent Elsevier factor for a given Thomson-Reuters factor differs typically by ±0.27 from journal to journal, as shown also by the standard deviation for the difference scores). My conclusion is that there is little difference between the Elsevier and Thomson-Reuters impact factors, so we should use the Elsevier impact factor from now on. Table 1 shows the impact factors (the IPPs) for the last three years of journals in exercise science, sport science, and those of some more generic journals we sometimes publish in.

Like Thomson-Reuters, Elsevier produces several citation indices. I was particularly interested in an Elsevier index that Thomson-Reuters does not produce, the subject-normalized impact per paper (SNIP). In subject areas with less research activity, impact factors are lower, because there are fewer papers citing related papers. The SNIP is supposed to adjust for such differences between disciplines, thereby allowing a proper comparison of the impact of such journals as Archives of Budo and Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. The adjustment uses length of reference lists in the articles citing articles in the given journal. This approach is obviously a bit crude, considering some journals limit the length of their reference lists, but it's probably better than nothing. The resulting SNIP looks just like the usual impact factor, and on average it has the same value across the entire database of scientific journals.

I have investigated the relationship between the SNIP and the usual impact factor (Elsevier's IPP) for this year's data. In scatterplots it was obvious that the relationship was more uniform after log transformation of both indices, and there were no outliers. Back-transformed means and factor SD for the IPP and the SNIP were 1.1 ×/÷ 2.6 and 0.8 ×/÷ 2.1, respectively, so the usual IPP is slightly higher and has somewhat more scatter than the new SNIP. The correlation between the two log-transformed measures was 0.88 (and 0.92, when I did it with the 2013 data). At first I thought this correlation was too high for the SNIP to convey anything really different from the IPP, but I was wrong: when the journals are ranked by the SNIP, it's obvious that the IPPs are somewhat scrambled, as shown in Table 2. You can also download the spreadsheet sorted by IPP for comparison. (More work needs to be done on the relationship between a correlation coefficient and comparability of ranks of the two variables for measures of journal and athletic performance.)

It's disappointing that the correlation between the IPP and the SNIP isn't lower or even zero: why should a top sport sociology journal have any less relative impact than a top sports injury journal? The academics are surely comparable, so why not their journals? I suspect that the normalizing process isn't working properly, either because of the limit on the size of the reference list in journals in the more active fields, or more likely because of the principle of cumulative advantage from cumulative inequality theory, according to which "there's nothing surer, the rich get rich and the poor get poorer" (1920s' song) in social and other dynamic systems of agents or attractors. It is likely and regrettable that articles providing rankings of journal impact factors serve only to accelerate the divergence of the factors.

For an explanation and critique of the usual impact factor, including the IPP, see an earlier article in this series. Read subsequent articles for explanations of related statistics and publication issues, including the page-rank, cited half-life and immediacy indices, the H (Hirsch) index, post-publication peer review, peer-reviewed proposals, article-influence scores, and institutional research archives.

Reviewer's Comments

Thomson Reuters' impact factor has been the most prominent metric for peer-reviewed publications in recent years. It’s no surprise that other publishers and scientific enterprises are developing their own metrics. The number of different metrics appearing in the online scientific community probably reflects publishing houses seeking to maximize competitive and commercial opportunities, and the needs of authors, editors, and institutions (particularly universities) for evidence-based measures of research impact.

Most authors and readers appreciate that citation counts of a researcher's publications are a better measure than the impact factors of the journals in which the researcher publishes, which are measures only of the average impact of all the articles in the journals. After all, relatively unimportant articles can get published in top-ranked journals (much to the chagrin of authors whose work has been rejected), while truly original and ultimately highly cited work can appear in low-ranked journals. Even if the SNIP can be improved to reduce the bias of research activity or cumulative advantage, it will not address this shortcoming of journal impact factors as measures of a researcher's impact. We will need an individual citation statistic adjusted like the SNIP if we are to evaluate the productivity of individual researchers in a fair manner.

Although subscriber-driven models have their place, a readily accessible free service that provides useful metrics for individuals and institutions will attract attention. It appears from Will Hopkins’ analysis that there is little difference between the subscriber (Thomson-Reuters) and free (Elsevier) traditional journal impact factors. Sports scientists should keep an eye on the evolution of publication metrics and of course the annual ranking lists of sport-science journals.

 

Table 1. Elsevier's impact factor (impact per paper, IPP) for exercise and sports medicine and science journals compiled from citations in journals published in 2012, 2013 and 2014. A journal without an impact factor is not in the Elsevier databases, either because the journal is too new or the factor is too low. Download a spreadsheet with the journals sorted by the 2014 factor.

2012

2013

2014

ACSM's Health and Fitness Journal

0.2

0.1

0.2

Acta Physiologica (Scandinavica)

3.4

3.4

3.6

Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly

1.7

1.4

1.4

American Journal of Medicine and Sports

.

.

.

American Journal of Physiology - Endo & Metab

4.8

4.6

3.9

American Journal of Physiology - Heart & Circ

3.9

4.1

3.7

American Journal of Sports Medicine

5.1

5.2

4.9

American Journal of Sports Science

.

.

.

Applied Ergonomics

2.0

1.9

2.1

Applied Physiology Nutrition & Metabolism

2.4

2.5

2.1

Applied Psychological Measurement

1.4

1.1

1.1

Applied Psychology-International Review

2.3

2.2

2.3

Archives of Budo

0.3

1.0

1.2

Asian Journal of Sports Medicine

0.6

1.4

1.1

Aviation Space and Environmental Medicine

0.8

0.9

0.8

Behavior Research Methods

2.7

2.7

2.9

Biology of Sport

0.4

0.6

0.7

British Journal of Sports Medicine

3.9

3.8

4.1

Clinical Biomechanics

2.5

2.4

2.2

Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine

2.1

2.1

2.0

Clinics in Sports Medicine

2.6

2.6

2.3

Current Sports Medicine Reports

1.3

1.7

1.3

Deutsche Zeitschrift fur Sportmedizin

0.4

0.4

0.3

Ergonomics

1.9

1.7

1.6

European Journal of Applied Physiology

2.6

2.6

2.3

European Journal of Sport Science

1.3

1.3

1.4

European Reviews of Aging and Physical Activity

0.6

1.1

1.2

European Sport Management Quarterly

0.3

1.0

1.2

European Sports History Review

.

.

.

Exercise and Immunology Review

6.6

7.4

6.9

Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews

4.9

5.8

4.4

Frontiers in Movement Science and Sport Psychology

.

.

.

Frontiers in Physiology

1.8

2.6

3.0

Gait and Posture

2.5

2.8

2.7

High Altitude Medicine and Biology

1.9

1.7

1.5

Human Movement Science

2.1

2.3

2.0

International J of Behavioral Nutrition & Physical Activity

4.1

4.5

4.7

International J of Sport Management and Marketing

0.3

0.4

0.3

International J of Sport Nutrition & Exercise Metabolism

2.1

2.3

2.2

International J of Sports Medicine and Sports Sciences

.

.

.

International J of Sports Physiology & Performance

2.2

3.1

2.9

International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching

0.4

0.6

0.7

International Journal of Athletic Therapy & Training

0.1

0.1

0.1

International Journal of Coaching Science

.

.

.

International Journal of Computer Science in Sport

.

0.0

0.2

International Journal of Epidemiology

5.6

6.3

6.5

International Journal of History of Sport

.

.

.

International Journal of Performance Analysis in Sport

0.2

0.2

0.9

International Journal of Sport Finance

0.6

0.4

0.5

International Journal of Sport Policy

0.2

0.8

1.1

International Journal of Sport Psychology

0.7

0.6

0.7

International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology

0.9

0.6

1.1

International Journal of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship

0.8

0.6

0.5

International Journal of Sports Medicine

2.4

2.6

2.1

International Quarterly of Sport Science

.

.

.

International Review for the Sociology of Sport

1.0

1.6

1.2

International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology

2.0

3.5

4.4

International Sportmed Journal

0.6

0.3

0.2

International Sports Journal

.

.

.

Isokinetics and Exercise Science

0.8

0.7

0.7

Japanese Journal of Physical Fitness and Sport

0.1

0.1

0.1

Journal of Aging and Physical Activity

2.3

1.9

1.8

Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis

1.2

1.1

1.1

Journal of Applied Behavioral Science

.

.

.

Journal of Applied Biomechanics

1.3

1.0

1.1

Journal of Applied Physiology

3.7

3.6

3.1

Journal of Applied Psychology

6.1

5.4

5.8

Journal of Applied Sport Psychology

1.7

1.5

1.3

Journal of Athletic Training

2.2

1.9

2.2

Journal of Biomechanics

2.9

3.0

2.8

Journal of Combat Sports and Martial Arts

.

.

.

Journal of Comparative Physical Education & Sport

.

.

.

Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology

1.9

2.2

1.9

Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health

2.9

3.1

3.0

Journal of Exercise Physiology Online

0.2

0.3

0.3

Journal of Exercise Science & Fitness

0.7

0.5

0.7

Journal of Human Kinetics

0.5

0.8

1.0

Journal of Human Movement Studies

.

.

.

Journal of Human Performance in Extreme Environ

.

.

.

Journal of Human Sport and Exercise

0.2

0.3

0.4

Journal of Leisure Research

1.1

1.1

1.1

Journal of Motor Behavior

1.4

1.5

1.6

Journal of Motor Learning and Development

.

.

.

Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine

2.1

1.9

1.6

Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy

3.5

3.0

3.0

Journal of Physical Activity and Health

2.1

2.0

1.9

Journal of Physical Education, Recreation, & Dance

0.0

0.1

0.2

Journal of Physiology

4.5

4.6

4.4

Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports

0.1

0.2

0.5

Journal of Science and Cycling

.

.

.

Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport

3.0

3.4

3.1

Journal of Sport Behavior

.

.

.

Journal of Sport History

1.0

0.2

0.1

Journal of Sport Management

1.0

1.2

1.2

Journal of Sport Psychology in Action

0.3

0.5

0.6

Journal of Sport Rehabilitation

1.5

1.0

1.3

Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology

2.8

3.1

2.8

Journal of Sport and Health Science

.

0.8

1.0

Journal of Sport and Social Issues

0.9

1.6

1.2

Journal of Sport and Tourism

0.6

1.1

0.7

Journal of Sports Chiropractic and Rehabilitation

.

.

.

Journal of Sports Analytics

.

.

.

Journal of Sports Economics

0.9

0.8

0.7

Journal of Sports Economics

0.9

0.8

0.7

Journal of Sports Engineering and Technology

.

.

.

Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness

0.9

1.0

1.0

Journal of Sports Science and Medicine

1.2

1.2

1.4

Journal of Sports Sciences

2.4

2.5

2.5

Journal of Sports Traumatology and Related Research

.

.

.

Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research

2.1

2.2

2.2

Journal of Swimming Research

.

.

.

Journal of Teaching in Physical Education

1.2

0.9

0.9

Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition

2.3

1.9

1.9

Journal of the Philosophy of Sport

0.3

0.4

0.4

Kinesiology

0.4

0.4

0.6

Leisure Sciences

1.2

1.6

1.4

Leisure Studies

1.0

1.3

1.0

Measurement in Physical Education & Exercise Science

0.9

1.0

0.7

Medicina dello Sport

0.1

0.2

0.2

Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise

4.8

4.8

4.6

Medicine and Sport Science

2.1

1.5

1.3

Motor Control

1.3

1.7

1.3

Pediatric Exercise Science

1.6

1.7

1.6

Pediatric Physical Therapy

1.4

1.7

1.3

Perceptual and Motor Skills

0.7

0.7

0.6

Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy

0.7

0.9

1.1

Physical Educator

.

.

.

Physical Therapy in Sport

1.5

2.0

1.9

Physician and Sportsmedicine

1.6

1.3

1.7

Psychology of Sport and Exercise

2.2

2.2

2.3

Quest

0.7

0.8

1.2

Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport

1.4

1.6

1.7

Research in Sports Med (was Sports Med Train Rehab)

1.2

1.5

1.4

Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports

2.9

3.4

2.9

Science and Sports

0.5

0.6

0.4

Sociology of Sport Journal

1.1

1.4

1.0

Sport Education and Society

1.0

1.5

1.2

Sport Ethics and Philosophy

0.1

0.4

0.4

Sport History Review

0.1

0.2

0.2

Sport Management Review

0.9

1.4

1.6

Sport Orthopadie Traumatologie

0.0

0.1

0.1

Sport Psychologist

1.1

1.1

1.1

Sport Schweizer Zeitschrift Medizin Traumatol

.

.

.

Sport Sciences for Health

0.4

0.2

0.3

Sport en Geneeskunde

0.0

0.1

0.0

Sport in History

0.1

0.4

0.4

Sport in Society

0.4

0.5

0.4

Sports Biomechanics

1.2

1.2

1.1

Sports Engineering

1.3

1.0

1.1

Sports Exercise and Injury

.

.

.

Sports Health

0.4

0.9

1.5

Sports Med Arthroscopy Rehab Therapy and Technol

1.7

1.3

1.1

Sports Medicine

6.3

6.3

5.6

Sports Medicine and Arthroscopy Review

2.2

2.0

1.7

Sports Technology

.

.

0.2

Sportscience

0.1

0.0

0.1

Sportverletzung-Sportschaden

0.5

0.4

0.6

Sportwissenschaft

0.2

0.3

0.3

Strength and Conditioning Journal

0.6

0.7

0.7

Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal

.

.

.

 

 

Table 2. Elsevier's usual impact factor (the impact per paper, IPP) and the subject-normalized impact per paper (SNIP) compiled from citations in journals published in 2014. The journals are sorted in descending order of the SNIP. Download the spreadsheet sorted by IPP for comparison.

 

IPP

SNIP

Journal of Applied Psychology

5.8

3.4

Sports Medicine

5.6

3.0

Exercise and Immunology Review

6.9

3.0

International Journal of Epidemiology

6.5

2.8

International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology

4.4

2.3

American Journal of Sports Medicine

4.9

2.2

Applied Ergonomics

2.1

2.2

British Journal of Sports Medicine

4.1

2.0

Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise

4.6

2.0

International J of Behavioral Nutrition & Physical Activity

4.7

1.8

Behavior Research Methods

2.9

1.8

Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews

4.4

1.8

Gait and Posture

2.7

1.7

Sports Engineering

1.1

1.7

Applied Psychology-International Review

2.3

1.6

International Review for the Sociology of Sport

1.2

1.6

Journal of Biomechanics

2.8

1.6

Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy

3.0

1.6

Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport

3.1

1.6

Journal of Sports Sciences

2.5

1.6

Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports

2.9

1.6

International J of Sports Physiology & Performance

2.9

1.5

Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health

3.0

1.5

Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research

2.2

1.5

Physical Therapy in Sport

1.9

1.5

Clinical Biomechanics

2.2

1.4

Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis

1.1

1.4

Journal of Athletic Training

2.2

1.4

Journal of Physiology

4.4

1.4

Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology

2.8

1.4

Journal of Sport and Social Issues

1.2

1.4

Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy

1.1

1.4

Psychology of Sport and Exercise

2.3

1.4

Sport Management Review

1.6

1.4

Ergonomics

1.6

1.3

Human Movement Science

2.0

1.3

International Journal of Sports Medicine

2.1

1.3

Journal of Applied Sport Psychology

1.3

1.3

Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology

1.9

1.3

Sport Education and Society

1.2

1.3

Sport in History

0.4

1.3

Sports Biomechanics

1.1

1.3

Acta Physiologica (Scandinavica)

3.6

1.2

American Journal of Physiology - Heart & Circ

3.7

1.2

European Journal of Applied Physiology

2.3

1.2

International Journal of Sport Policy

1.1

1.2

Journal of Applied Physiology

3.1

1.2

Leisure Sciences

1.4

1.2

Quest

1.2

1.2

Sociology of Sport Journal

1.0

1.2

American Journal of Physiology - Endo & Metab

3.9

1.1

Applied Psychological Measurement

1.1

1.1

Journal of Sport and Tourism

0.7

1.1

Journal of Sport Management

1.2

1.1

Journal of the Philosophy of Sport

0.4

1.1

Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport

1.7

1.1

Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly

1.4

1.0

Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine

2.0

1.0

Clinics in Sports Medicine

2.3

1.0

European Journal of Sport Science

1.4

1.0

European Sport Management Quarterly

1.2

1.0

Journal of Aging and Physical Activity

1.8

1.0

Journal of Motor Behavior

1.6

1.0

Journal of Sports Economics

0.7

1.0

Journal of Sports Economics

0.7

1.0

Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition

1.9

1.0

Leisure Studies

1.0

1.0

Applied Physiology Nutrition & Metabolism

2.1

0.9

Archives of Budo

1.2

0.9

European Reviews of Aging and Physical Activity

1.2

0.9

Frontiers in Physiology

3.0

0.9

International J of Sport Nutrition & Exercise Metabolism

2.2

0.9

Journal of Applied Biomechanics

1.1

0.9

Journal of Human Kinetics

1.0

0.9

Journal of Leisure Research

1.1

0.9

Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine

1.6

0.9

Journal of Physical Activity and Health

1.9

0.9

Journal of Sport Rehabilitation

1.3

0.9

Journal of Sports Science and Medicine

1.4

0.9

Research in Sports Med (was Sports Med Train Rehab)

1.4

0.9

Sport Psychologist

1.1

0.9

Sports Med Arthroscopy Rehab Therapy and Technol

1.1

0.9

Sports Medicine and Arthroscopy Review

1.7

0.9

Asian Journal of Sports Medicine

1.1

0.8

Aviation Space and Environmental Medicine

0.8

0.8

International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology

1.1

0.8

Medicine and Sport Science

1.3

0.8

Pediatric Exercise Science

1.6

0.8

Pediatric Physical Therapy

1.3

0.8

Physician and Sportsmedicine

1.7

0.8

Sports Health

1.5

0.8