The impact factor and psychiatry journals: an international perspective

Even though the IF is primarily used to rank journals, its influence has widened and it is now often used as a proxy measure to evaluate the quality of individual researchers. The need to publish in high-IF journals may force researchers to do their work in already ‘highly populated’ areas of science as there is a readily available, large cohort of fellow researchers in the same field who could potentially cite each other’s works (Alberts, 2013). This might explain the plethora of studies in high-IF psychiatry journals over the past decade in the fields of neuroscience (especially genetics and neuroimaging) with little relevance to clinical practice so far.

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