Quality and Impact Analysis: Frontiers in Microbiology

Last updated on 11.Jul.2016

Microbiology_363x2735In June 2016, Frontiers in Microbiology received the official Impact Factor of 4.165 — up from 3.989 in the previous report. Since its launch in 2010, it has become the 2nd most-cited open-access journal in Microbiology. It is also the largest journal in Microbiology in the world.

Impact Factor (IF), defined as the total number of citations in a given year divided by the number of citable articles over the previous two-year period, is the most commonly accepted metric of journal quality (but not of an individual paper or researcher). It was formally established by the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) in 1975. As the IF can be heavily skewed by a few highly-cited papers, total citations generated over the same two-year period provide a more accurate indication of the overall  influence or impact of the articles published by a journal in a field. Frontiers is a pioneer in the use of article-level and author-level metrics and encourages every author to use these to track the development of his or her readership on a more granular level.

Analysis within the category of Microbiology

There are 123 journals listed in the category of Microbiology in the 2015 Journal Citations Reports (JCR) provided by Thomson Reuters in 2016. Frontiers in Microbiology and Frontiers in Cellular and Infectious Microbiology are two of the 20 open-access journals.

Below, the results of our comparative analysis on the article volume published, IF and the total number of citations achieved in 2015, based on articles published over the two preceding years, 2013 and 2014.  (Click here to see the volume and number of citations of other Frontiers journals).

Total citations among all open-access journals in Microbiology

Microbiology4

Figure 1. Total number of citations in 2015 for articles published in 2013 and 2014, ranked for all (20) open-access journals listed in the Microbiology JCR category. Plot shows ranks for the top 14 most-cited open-access journals, where (in red) Frontiers in Microbiology ranks #2 most-cited, and Frontiers in cellular and Infection Microbiology ranks #5 most-cited. The journal analysis is based on the 2015 Journal Citation Reports published by Thomson Reuters in 2016.

Total citations among all journals in Microbiology

Microbiology3

Figure 2. Total number of citations in 2015 for articles published in 2013 and 2014, ranked for all  (123) journals (open-access and subscription) listed in the Microbiology JCR category. Plot shows the ranks for the top 20 most-cited journals, where  (in red) Frontiers in Microbiology ranks #8 (top 6%) most-cited. Frontiers in cellular and Infection Microbiology ranks #25 most-cited (not shown). The journal analysis is based on the 2015 Journal Citation Reports published by Thomson Reuters in 2016.

Relationship between volume and Impact Factor for all open-access journals in Microbiology

Microbiology2

Figure 3. Volume of citable items in 2015, plotted against the 2015 journal Impact Factor, for all 20 open-access journals listed in the Microbiology JCR category. Plot shows all open-access journals in the category, with (in red) Frontiers in Microbiology and Frontiers in cellular and Infection Microbiology. Dot size is proportional to the total number of citations received during the citation-counting period. The journal analysis is based on the 2015 Journal Citation Reports published by Thomson Reuters in 2016.

Relationship between volume and Impact Factor for all journals in Microbiology

Microbiology

Figure 4. Volume of citable items in 2015, plotted against the 2015 journal Impact Factor, for all 123 journals (open-access  and subscription) listed in the Microbiology JCR category. Plot shows all journals in the category, with (in red) Frontiers in Microbiology and Frontiers in cellular and Infection Microbiology. Dot size is proportional to the total number of citations received during the citation-counting period. The journal analysis is based on the 2015 Journal Citation Reports published by Thomson Reuters in 2016. 

Summary

Amongst the 20 open-access journals listed in the categories of Microbiology, Frontiers in Microbiology:

  • Is the largest open-access journal in Microbiology – 7 times larger than the average article volume in open-access journals in Microbiology
  • Is the 2nd most-cited journal in 2015 based on articles published in 2013 and 2014
  • Ranks 5th on Impact Factor – Top 23% of Impact Factors for Microbiology

Amongst all of the 123 journals listed in the category of Microbiology, Frontiers in Microbiology:

  • Is the largest Microbiology journal overall – 9 times larger than the average article volume in all journals in Microbiology
  • Is the 8th most-cited journal in 2015 based on articles published in 2013 and 2014
  • Is in the top 18% of Impact Factors.

In summary, Frontiers in Microbiology, one of the youngest journals publishing peer-reviewed scholarly articles in Microbiology, has become the largest and 8th most-cited journal in Microbiology with an impact factor in the top 18%.

Further significance

The results are more significant if one considers:

  1. Frontiers does not engineer the IF by setting a rejection rate, and instead operates an impact neutral peer-review process.
  2. The impact factor of Frontiers in Microbiology has been increasing from 3.941 in 2013 to 4.165 in 2015 JCR, despite an increase of 27% in volume over the period. This defies the long-held belief that publishing high volumes reduces quality.

Key to success

At Frontiers, we publish all articles that are scientifically correct. We engineered the Collaborative Peer Review with a review mandate focused on enhancing article quality by means of rigorous and constructive feedback from expert reviewers, quick and direct interactions between authors, reviewers and the editor enabled by our review forum platform, and we enhance transparency by acknowledging reviewers and editors on the published articles. This performance analysis indicates that the impact neutral Collaborative Peer Review conducted in Frontiers together with an outstanding editorial board has become a powerful model for publishing academic papers.

All of this is only possible with a stellar editorial board of researchers (see infographic). Frontiers congratulates Field Chief Editor Martin G Klotz, the outstanding board of Specialty Chief Editors and the diligent work of the Associate and Review Editors (see full board) and  the Frontiers Journal Management team for this spectacular achievement.

Frontiers in Microbiology fact sheet (as of June 2016):

Website: http://journal.frontiersin.org/journal/microbiology
Launched: 2010
Impact Factor: 4.165
Number of sections: 16
Number of Research Topics: 273
Number of editors: 2,914
Number of articles published: 4,566
Number of article views: 8,351,099
Number of article downloads: 2,195,764

The same analysis of volume, impact factor and number of citations of other Frontiers journals in the 2015 JCR can be found here.

Similar analysis for the 2014 JCR can be found here.

Chief Editors (see full board):

Martin G Klotz, Queens College of The City University of New York (CUNY), USA | Field Chief Editor, Frontiers in Microbiology

Rustam Aminov, Technical University of Denmark, Denmark | Specialty Chief Editor, Antimicrobials, Resistance and Chemotherapy and Infectious Diseases

Jonathan P Zehr, University of California, Santa Cruz | Specialty Chief Editor, Aquatic Microbiology

John R Battista, Louisiana State University and A & M College | Specialty Chief Editor, Evolutionary and Genomic Microbiology

Ludmila Chistoserdova, University of Washington | Specialty Chief Editor, Evolutionary and Genomic Microbiology

Andreas Teske, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | Specialty Chief Editor, Extreme Microbiology

Giovanna Suzzi, Università degli Studi di Teramo | Specialty Chief Editor, Food Microbiology

Axel A Brakhage, Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research | Specialty Chief Editor, Fungi and Their Interactions

Maurizio Del Poeta, Stony Brook University | Specialty Chief Editor, Fungi and Their Interactions

Imtiaz Ahmed Khan, George Washington University | Specialty Chief Editor, Microbial Immunology

Ian Marriott, University of North Carolina at Charlotte | Specialty Chief Editor, Microbial Immunology

Ulrich Emil Schaible, Director Priority Area Infections, Research Center Center Borstel  | Specialty Chief Editor, Microbial Immunology

Thomas E Hanson, University of Delaware | Specialty Chief Editor, Microbial Physiology and Metabolism

Marc Strous, University of Calgary | Specialty Chief Editor, Microbial Physiology and Metabolism

Biswarup Mukhopadhyay, Virginia Tech | Assistant Specialty Chief Editor, Microbial Physiology and Metabolism

Nicole Webster, Australian Institute of Marine Science | Specialty Chief Editor, Microbial Symbioses

Suhelen Egan, The University of New South Wales | Assistant Specialty Chief Editor, Microbial Symbioses

Ariel Anbar, Arizona State University | Specialty Chief Editor, Microbiological Chemistry and Geomicrobiology

Bradley M Tebo, Oregon Health & Science University | Specialty Chief Editor, Microbiological Chemistry and Geomicrobiology

Matthew W Fields, Montana State University | Specialty Chief Editor, Microbiotechnology, Ecotoxicology and Bioremediation

William James Hickey, University of Wisconsin-Madison | Specialty Chief Editor, Microbiotechnology, Ecotoxicology and Bioremediation

Ji-Dong Gu, The University of Hong Kong | Assistant Specialty Chief Editor, Microbiotechnology, Ecotoxicology and Bioremediation

Choong-Min Ryu, Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology | Specialty Chief Editor, Plant Biotic Interactions

Matthias Hess, University of California Davis | Specialty Chief Editor, Systems Microbiology

George Tsiamis, University of Patras | Specialty Chief Editor, Systems Microbiology

Lisa Y Stein, University of Alberta | Specialty Chief Editor, Terrestrial Microbiology

Akio Adachi, Tokushima University Graduate School | Specialty Chief Editor, Virology

Yousef Abu Kwaik, University of Louisville School of Medicine, USA | Specialty Chief Editor, Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology

A special thanks goes to:

Giulia De Lorenzo, Sapienza, Università di Roma | Former Specialty Chief Editor, Plant Biotic Interactions

Brigitte Mauch-Mani, Université de Neuchâtel | Former Specialty Chief Editor, Plant Biotic Interactions

3 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Frontiers tops open-access journal ranking in most JCR categories | Frontiers Blog
  2. Selecting for impact: new data debunks old beliefs | Frontiers Blog
  3. Frontiers APCs: Structure and Rationale – Frontiers Blog

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