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Updated — September 8, 2023

Relationship between journal impact factor and the thoroughness and helpfulness of peer reviews

Journal articles  For:Research institutes

First page of article, "Relationship between journal impact factor and the thoroughness and helpfulness of peer reviews"

Pre-publication peer review organized by journals is often mentioned as an important aspect of journal “quality.” Thus, if Journal Impact Factor was an measure of journal quality, there should be a relationship between the quality of peer reviews performed under a journal and the Impact Factor of that journal.

This study of 10,000 reviews found a positive correlation between thoroughness of reviews and Impact Factor, but a negative correlation with suggestions for improvement and Impact Factor. But importantly, the authors note that the variation in peer review characteristics was so wide and the differences so small that Impact Factor provides negligible predictive power for quality of peer review that authors can expect from a journal.

Impact Factors were negatively correlated with the geographic diversity of reviewers. As Impact Factors increased, the proportion of reviewers from Africa, Asia, and South America decreased.

Severin A, Strinzel M, Egger M, Barros T, Sokolov A, Mouatt JV, Müller S. 2023. Relationship between journal impact factor and the thoroughness and helpfulness of peer reviews. PLoS Biology 21(8): e3002238. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.3002238