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Impact factor of PLoS ONE

with 13 comments

Background Me and Björn has a bet on the impact factor of the journal PLoS ONE. PLoS ONE utilizes a new concept within publishing.The journal does not exclude any article based on percieved interest but publish everything that is technologically sound. As expected a lot of rubbish has ended up in the journal. Meanwhile, the journal has recieved a fair amount of publicity and PLoS has a good reputation. The bet was set as if PLoS gets an IF >1.2, Björn owes me a pizza, otherwise I owe Björn a pizza. As I’m impatient for ISI to calculate the IFs I’ve done it myself.

Method The citation report of all articles published in 2007 in PLoS ONE were retrieved using Google Scholar. Average number of citations were calculated using a simple perl script. As a a benchmark of the method the impact factor of BMC Genomics were calculated using the same approach.

Results Using the above mentioned method the IF of BMC Genomics was 4.90 for articles published in 2007. This is in line with their offical impact factor (4.18). Plos ONE had an Impact factor of 5.68.

Conclusion Well done PLoS ONE. Pizza for me.


Written by Lenny

februari 26, 2009 den 5:14 e m

Publicerat i Uncategorized

13 svar

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  1. Thanks for the valuable information. But, you didnt mention about the articles of Plos ONE pubslished in 2006, because as I know to calculate the IF of 2008, you should count the papers published in 2006 + 2007, and their citations in 2008.

    E. A.

    E. A.

    mars 19, 2009 at 6:12 f m

  2. Thanks E.A for your comment. You’re correct, the IF I’ve calculated is not the ”true” IF. However, my intention was only to find out if Plos ONE was likely to have an imapct factor >>1. My calculation is onle a rough estimate of Plos ONEs IF. It’ll be very interesting to see Plos ONEs’ true IF!

    If I find time I’ll recalculate the IF with papers published for 2006 and 2007.



    mars 19, 2009 at 7:46 f m

  3. Well done for the pizza, Lenny. The current situation with PLoS ONE is that it’s not indexed at Thomson’s ISI, which is the organization usually recognized to provide impact factors. This is the reason why you’ve waited for so long without seeing anything. In this case, unless there is a change, PLoS ONE will never have an official impact factor… PLoS ONE might have done this to protest against the current impact factor system. Or there might have been also a fear of receiving a terribly low impact factor due to their status which says that every paper will be published given that the content is scientifically sound. Still, this is a shame since, based on your estimation, its impact factor would have been quite good!

    The Observator

    april 7, 2009 at 11:03 f m

  4. Its probably going to be something more like 3 according to current data in Scopus but yes it should be greater than 1.2 (weird value btw).

    Pedro Beltrao

    april 28, 2009 at 8:44 e m

  5. Much worse than the low impact factor is the fact that it is not considered a peer-reviewed journal (due to the peer review mainly limited to the methods).


    augusti 5, 2009 at 10:20 e m

  6. PLOS One is a rubbish journal.


    november 24, 2009 at 10:30 e m

  7. IF gives papers an average of two years in which to be cited and contribute to IF. I took all published papers in PLoS One from October 2007 and October 2008 and asked how many citations they had at by November 2009. The answer was 3.02 and 8.36, respectively. These numbers are outstanding. Perhaps authors that write papers with sound methodology more often than not generate good science. Perhaps there are a fair number of scientists that write papers with good methodology and are being obstructed from publishing by reviewers that want yet one more experiment so that a lot of good papers are ending up in PLoS One. I have to imagine this is a fragile situation for PLoS One that will only remain true as long as rigorous assessment of methodology by the journal continues.


    december 3, 2009 at 10:04 e m

  8. We are now publishing in PLoS One, where one editor and two reviewers guided us in a thorough process of revision lasting two months, in which we had to add four figures, for a total of 12. This revision did not differ in anything from J. Neuroscience, for instance (two editors and two reviewers; impact factor 7.8). In PLoS Biology, were we also published, revision is more severe, with two editors and three reviewers. From my experience PLoS One is a normal, serious, journal not less accurate in revision than other journal with impact factor of 6-8.

    Felice Tirone

    december 7, 2009 at 4:32 e m

  9. PLOS One is now indexed in WebOfScience and will have an IF this year.


    januari 30, 2010 at 10:44 e m

  10. I just made a publishment in Plos One. I feel it also be serious of significance of a paper, but express it in other words. And the quality of the paper therein is controlled by editors and reviewers quite well. I did submissions three times. One is rejected due to it significance. The other is also rejected, but accepted after one year of modification. If anyone say ”it is easy to publish in plos one”, I will suggest him bring his plos one paper to me before a judgement.

    Xin Liu

    mars 25, 2010 at 6:00 f m

  11. PLoS One is peer reviewed, but has a different and maybe more rationale philosophy about peer review. This is from their website:

    Unlike many journals which attempt to use the peer review process to determine whether or not an article reaches the level of ‘importance’ required by a given journal, PLoS ONE uses peer review to determine whether a paper is technically sound and worthy of inclusion in the published scientific record. Once the work is published in PLoS ONE, the broader community is then able to discuss and evaluate the significance of the article (through the number of citations it attracts; the downloads it achieves; the media and blog coverage it receives; and the post-publication Notes, Comments and Ratings that it receives on PLoS ONE etc).


    mars 30, 2010 at 8:26 e m

  12. You should try to use scopus instead of google scholar. In my experience, scopus corresponds better to Thomson than Google scholar. It’s also easier to use.

    Didn’t you get blocked by google?


    april 27, 2010 at 3:55 e m

  13. As mentioned by others, quite a significant numbers of good papers rejected by other journals end up in PLoS One. This was the case for us for a paper rejected after a long revision process by Cancer Research.
    Reviewing was light likely because it was obvious that our paper had gone through extensive reviewing before.


    juni 16, 2010 at 11:41 f m


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