The number of radiology journals—and their impact on healthcare—is on the rise

As the total amount of radiological research journals escalates, new publications in emerging subspecialty areas are growing in influence as well, according to an analysis of impact trends in radiological literature recently published online in Academic Radiology.

The quality of biomedical journals is often based on their perceived impact on future research, measured as the frequency of citations to published articles in each respective journal. The best way to evaluate the influence of a publication is to calculate its “impact factor,” said lead author Andrew B. Rosenkrantz, MD, of NYU Langone Medical Center, and colleagues.

“Inquiries of this nature are likely to be relevant to radiological journals as well, given the extent of both organ-based and modality-based subspecialization within radiology, as well as the continual emergence of new imaging technologies,” they wrote. “Indeed, such information would not only impact the authors’ selection of a journal for submitting their work and journals’ selection of submitted content for publication, but may also provide insights into ongoing shifts in the content and influence of radiological research." 

Rosenkrantz and his team set out to evaluate the evolving trends and impact factors of radiological journals, including relationships between impact and journal topic area, over between 2003 and 2014. To do so, they used journal citation reports to assess the total number of biomedical journals and radiological journals, as well as to calculate a median impact factor (mIF) for each journal category.

They found that not only was the number of radiological journals increasing, from 83 to 125 during the study timeframe, but the mIF of the journals was on the rise as well, growing from 1.42 2003 to 1.75 by 2014. While most new journals were categorized as “general radiology” publications, topical journals in areas of cardiac imaging, optics, molecular imaging, radiation oncology, and neuroradiology increased their impact factors during the study period.

“The number of radiological journals increased at a slightly greater rate than all biomedical journals,” the authors concluded. “There were also new journal topics between 2003 and 2014 representing emerging areas of subspecialized radiological research. Such information may be useful for guiding decisions by scientific authors and editors of radiological journals.”