Web of Science's Citation Median Metrics Overcome the Major Constraints of the Journal Impact Factor

Alan Daugherty, Robert A. Hegele, Hong S. Lu, Nigel MacKman, Daniel J. Rader, Christian Weber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


There are many metrics to evaluate the performance and status of journals. Among these, the journal impact factor (JIF) has become the dominant metric. The influence of JIF is illustrated by its widespread use to evaluate academic status, compensation, and funding decisions. However, as noted by Clarivate Analytics, the parent company of the Web of Science (WoS), the JIF should not be used without careful attention to the many phenomena that influence citation rates. To facilitate transparency, Clarivate Analytics provides all data used to determine the JIF. In addition, WoS provides other metrics for journal evaluation, including the article citation median and the review citation median. These metrics are represented as medians to minimize the confounding influence of a small number of highly cited articles that may occur when data are represented as means. Another feature of these WoS metrics is that data are separated according to different publication types of article (original research and review). To systematically compare these selected metrics, we used the data provided on the WoS web site to analyze 25 top ranked cardiovascular journals in the same mode as represented in the WoS citation distribution window. The results indicate that the article citation median and review citation median overcome several concerns that have been raised about the JIF and seem to provide enhanced objectivity as an indicator of journal impact in publishing original research and reviews. Therefore, we advocate that these additional WoS metrics might be preferentially considered as indicators of journal performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)367-371
Number of pages5
JournalArteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Thieme. All rights reserved. Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc.


  • Benchmarking
  • Bibliometrics
  • Cardiovascular research
  • Journal impact factor
  • Periodicals as topic
  • Publishing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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