The 2012 Impact Factors (IF) – one measure of the influence of a scholarly journal – have been released. Impact factors are controversial, and what they are measuring is richly debated. I have no strong position on this issue, though in general I applaud the proliferation of different metrics for evaluating journals.
In any case, for better or worse, the new 2012 IFs are out. Evolutionary Psychology, the journal that hosts this blog, leapt from last year’s 1.055 to 1.704, the highest the journal has ever achieved. The present Impact Factor puts Evolutionary Psychology in the neighborhood of Personality and Individual Differences (1.807), European Journal of Social Psychology (1.667), Sex Roles (1.531), and, another evolutionary journal, Human Nature (1.814). A nice neighborhood. Kudos to the editorial team, especially Todd Shackelford, who has worked tirelessly over the last several years to put the journal on the path that it is currently traveling.
The other journal I’ll mention is the official journal of the Human Behavior and Evolution Society, Evolution and Human Behavior, which increased from 3.113 in 2011 to 3.946, also the highest it has ever been.
One way to put this value in perspective is to place it among journals in social psychology. Set against the 60 journals listed in the Journal Citation Reports, Evolution and Human Behavior would rank 4th, behind Personality and Social Psychology Review, Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, and Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (4.877). In anthropology, E&HB would be third of the 83 listed, behind Journal of Peasant Studies (superstar paper: “Globalisation and the foreignisation of space: Seven processes driving the current global land grab” by A. Zoomers, cited 144 times according to Harzing’s) and the Journal of Human Evolution (4.094). (Current Anthropology is at 2.740, which surprised me because I thought it would higher.) Ranked against economics journals, E&HB would be 4th of the 332 listed by JCR. (The journal is grouped by Reuters under Biological Psychology, and sits second, below Behavioral and Brain Sciences with its whopping 18.571 Impact Factor.)
The bulk of the credit for these numbers goes, of course, to the authors of the papers. Still, I do think that it’s worthwhile to take a moment to note that the present quality of the journals, such as they are, owes a tremendous debt to the prior editors of the journals. I have some slight worry that some of the younger generation in the field might not know that Martin Daly and Margo Wilson edited Evolution and Human Behavior (starting before, in fact, it was called Evolution and Human Behavior) from 1997 to 2005, and are to be credited with setting the journal on its present trajectory. Steve Gaulin, Dan Fessler, and Martie Haselton are similarly no longer actively editing, but they each and all shepherded the journal through the 2000’s. The present group of editors stands on the shoulders of the efforts of all of these scholars who came before, and I, for one, am deeply grateful for all their hard work.