A Better Metric Than Impact Factor: The Ochsner Journal Makes a Case

“Which paper would you consider more significant – a top-tier paper that has been cited 15 times, or a mid-tier paper that’s been cited 500 times? Unfortunately, granting agencies or tenure committees that base their decisions on the journal impact factors support the former. It’s this frustration that has led many to argue that the evolution of scientific impact will move away from this metric over the coming decade,” writes Alan Marnett in his article on the Google Scholar metric the h-index.

We here at the Ochsner Journal have long held the same opinion. The Journal does not have a Thomson Reuters Journal Citation Reports impact factor and is not likely to be selected to be included in the Thomson Reuters Web of Science Core Collection and obtain an impact factor. Consequently, we have searched for a valid alternative metric that could situate the Journal in the realm of medical publishing—a metric that would show that the Journal is competitive, growing, and a viable publishing option for medical professionals.

Enter Google Scholar. We discovered that we could create an account for the Journal in Google Scholar to track external citations to Journal articles. And based on these external citations, Google Scholar calculates a comparable—and some say more valid—metric than impact factor: the h-index.

“The h-index—a widely recognized publication metric—relies on citations to papers, not the journals, which is a truer measure of quality,” (Marnett again).

The Ochsner Journal h-index is currently 23, meaning that at least 23 of our articles have 23 external citations each. This h-index shows that Ochsner Journal is a competitive medical journal, with a ranking comparable to many other journals in specialty fields.

Ochsner Journal h-index clearly shows how the Journal’s visibility and external citations have grown since the Journal was accepted for indexing in PubMed Central in 2011. The graph shows the number of citations per year, with 2016 looking to be a banner year with 620 citations reported as of July.

These metrics prove that the Ochsner Journal is competitive in the field of medical publishing and, if the last few years of growth are any indication, the Journal will continue to grow. Stay tuned!Doc1