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CPPP Update: Impact Factor: To Apply or Not to Apply, That is the Question…

By Editor Jennifer VerrillSchurman, Ph.D.

To most of you reading this, the term “Impact Factor” or “IF” will be a familiar one. The question of when to apply for an IF has been an important point of discussion among the editorial board and staff of Clinical Practice in Pediatric Psychology, in conjunction with the SPP Board of Directors, for the past few years. It also is a topic often raised by our international colleagues, some of whom have institutional guidelines requiring that submissions go to journals with an IF and/or which are indexed in Medline.

If you are like I was at the start of these conversations, you may not know what goes into a journal’s IF and what the process is for a new journal to get an IF for the first time. Today, I am going to lay out some information on these, and other, relevant considerations that have informed our recent decision-making. I hope that this information will be helpful in understanding both our current decision and also what may transpire in the future.

To begin, Clarivate Analytics defines the IF as a measure of the frequency with which the “average” article in a given journal has been cited in a particular year or set of years. The formula for the IF is a ratio in which the number of current year citations (e.g., 2018) to source items published in that journal during the previous two years (2016-17) is divided by the number of citable items published in that journal during that same two year period (2016-17). Similarly, a five-year impact factor is one year of citations (e.g., 2018) to five years of citable source items (2012-2017). So far, so good.

This brings us three important things I have learned about the IF:

  1. Many prestigious journals have started with a low IF. In 1986, 10 years into its publishing history, our own Journal of Pediatric Psychology had an IF of 1.13, according to the Vale Dictum published by Michael Roberts upon ending his term as editor of JPP. The IF did not stabilize at the current yearly IF of 2.5-3.5 until the past decade (2008-present). At CPPP, a lower IF may be anticipated given our focus on clinical practice topics that may not always lend themselves as readily to citation as they do consumption. As we all know, citation count is not the only benchmark of quality, reach, and/or influence.
  2. Applying for an IF does not guarantee you will get one. The selection process to be included in the Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), and thereby granted an IF, is complicated and includes consideration of basic publishing standards, editorial content, international focus, and citation analysis (i.e., total citation counts over publishing history, estimated IF, citation history of contributing authors and editorial board members). If a journal applies and is not granted an IF/SSCI inclusion, then one of two things may happen: 1) the journal might be selected for inclusion in the Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI) and continuously monitored for possible inclusion in the SSCI or, 2) the journal may not be selected for inclusion in either index. This is why it can pay to wait until the estimated IF is at least close to 1.0 before applying for the first time… the journal has a better chance of being selected for SSCI inclusion immediately and not having to play the waiting game in the ESCI.
  3. Only journals already included in a Web of Science Core Collection Index (i.e., those with an IF or indexed in the ESCI) count as citations for the purpose of calculating an IF. In other words, citations in CPPP currently do not count towards the IF for any journal, including our sister journal - JPP. This would change when CPPP is indexed in either the SSCI or ESCI; citations of JPP papers in CPPP would start counting towards JPP’s IF, just as citations of CPPP papers in JPP would count towards our own IF. Once indexed, self-citations within a journal also count towards that journal’s IF.

So, where does this leave us? We are now mid-way through our 7th year of publishing CPPP and, thanks to the support of our readers, contributors, reviewers, and editorial board members, we are thriving. SPP is happy with our journal, APA is happy with our journal, and our readership survey indicates that our constituents also are happy with our journal. We are on track for continued stability and growth into our second decade. But, the lack of an IF/indexing continues to dissuade some authors from submitting to our journal and also impacts our sister journal, JPP, in their own IF calculations. While there is no perfect time to take a risk, it appears to me that the time has come to take this one. Whether we are selected for indexing in the SSCI and are provided with our first IF (even a low one!) or land in the ESCI, the increased visibility can only help support our continued growth. Keep a good thought, friends, and I hope to have good news to share this time next year. In the meantime, keep reading our journal, sharing content with others, saying yes to reviews, contributing your ideas, and submitting your work to CPPP!


Updates from the Journal of Pediatric Psychology

By Editor-in-Chief Tonya Palermo, Ph.D.


We are excited to share the news that JPP’s Impact Factor increased to 2.670 from the 2018 Journal Citations Reports. Review some of the highly cited articles contributing to the increase here.

Latest Issues 

Check out the July issue of JPP presently online (Volume 44, Issue 6), which includes a Featured Article by Meg Nicholl and colleagues entitled, Comparison of diabetes management trajectories in Hispanic versus non-Hispanic youth with type 1 diabetes across early adolescence. An accompanying JPP student journal club commentary written by Paul Enlow and Tim Wysocki discusses the featured paper further.

Stay tuned for the August issue (currently in production) which is our special Gold Anniversary issue celebrating 50 years of SPP and JPP. This issue was guest edited by myself, Bryan Karazsia, and Anne Kazak focused on the theme Historical Influences in Pediatric Psychology: Influence on Contemporary Research and Practice. We are excited to share this issue with you that includes seven reprinted foundational papers published in the early years of JPP and a set of outstanding commentaries that discuss the impact of these papers.

Special Issues

Several special issues are underway including a Special Issue on Addressing Health Disparities in Pediatric Psychology with guest editors Cecelia Valrie, Melissa Santos, and Idia Thurston that will have a companion issue with Clinical Practice in Pediatric Psychology, and a Special Issue on Innovations in Pediatric Psychology Assessment with guest editors Lindsey Cohen, David Cella, and Lauren Wakschlag.

Call for Applications for JPP Student Journal Club

We wish to thank all of the participating students in this year’s JPP Student Journal Club! It is time to recruit new undergraduate, doctoral, or postdoctoral trainees who are interested in being considered. The purpose of the JPP Student Journal Club is to allow student trainees in pediatric psychology the opportunity to critically evaluate a published article to enhance readers’ understanding of it through writing an accompanying commentary. Terms are September 1 – August 31. To apply, please visit the club. Applications are due by August 1, 2019.


Be sure to consult the Author Instructions prior to manuscript submission.

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