Author Impact Factor: tracking the dynamics of individual scientific impact

Sci Rep. 2014 May 12:4:4880. doi: 10.1038/srep04880.


The impact factor (IF) of scientific journals has acquired a major role in the evaluations of the output of scholars, departments and whole institutions. Typically papers appearing in journals with large values of the IF receive a high weight in such evaluations. However, at the end of the day one is interested in assessing the impact of individuals, rather than papers. Here we introduce Author Impact Factor (AIF), which is the extension of the IF to authors. The AIF of an author A in year t is the average number of citations given by papers published in year t to papers published by A in a period of Δt years before year t. Due to its intrinsic dynamic character, AIF is capable to capture trends and variations of the impact of the scientific output of scholars in time, unlike the h-index, which is a growing measure taking into account the whole career path.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't