The BMJ rises to 4th place in global rankings of most cited general medical journals

The BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal) has risen from sixth to fourth place in the international rankings of the most influential general medical journals in the world, show new figures on research citations (impact factor) for 2012.

The BMJ has now overtaken two heavyweight US titles, PLos Medicine and the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Only the New England Journal of MedicineThe Lancet, and the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) now rank above The BMJ, the flagship publication of international healthcare knowledge provider BMJ (formerly BMJ Group).

The BMJ’s impact factor* rose from 14.093 in 2011 to 17.215 in 2012—an increase of 3.112 points or 22%. The BMJ is now the most highly cited open access general medical journal in the world.

Not only is this increase greater than for any of the other publications in the world’s top 10 general medical journals in 2012, but The BMJ is one of only three general medical titles in the top 10 not to have decreased its impact factor since 2011.

Additionally, the title’s total citations rose from 74759 to 81336—a total increase of 8.7%.

Furthermore, The BMJ was not the only journal among the publisher’s growing stable of more than 40 specialist and open access titles to register an increase in impact factor.

Of the 25 eligible journals with comparative data over the past two years, 17 titles increased their impact factor.

Among notable gains were Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases—co-owned with the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR)—which jumped from 8.727 to 9.111, retaining its number 1 ranking for a purely scientific and original research journal for the 5th year running.

Similarly, Heart—co-owned with the British Cardiovascular Society—rose from 4.223 to 5.014;Thorax—co-owned with the British Thoracic Society—rose from 6.848 to 8.376; while Tobacco Control rose from 3.011 to 4.111, so that it is now ranked third in the Social Science Public Health category.

The publisher’s paediatric titles—co-owned with the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health—also registered gains. The impact factor for Archives of Disease in Childhood rose from 2.881 to 3.051, pushing the title up to 10th in the Pediatrics category; the Fetal & Neonatal Edition rose from 3.045 to 3.451, taking it to eighth position; while the Education & Practice Edition rose from 1.318 to 1.843.

And the BMJ’s first dedicated open access title, BMJ Open, which launched in 2011, acquired an impact factor of 1.583 in 2012.

BMJ also publishes titles on behalf of other organisations and learned societies, and several of these increased their impact factor over the past year.

Among them, the Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care—published on behalf of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists—rose from 1.636 to 2.1, while the Journal of NeuroInterventional Surgery —published on behalf of the US Society for NeuroInterventional Surgery—rose from 0.923 to 1.378.

Commenting on the figures, BMJ Publishing Director Peter Ashman said: “Despite its flaws, the impact factor system is a globally accepted measurement and we are delighted that the ongoing development work with our editorial teams has resulted in an increase in our numbers.

For The BMJ in particular, our increase to 4th in the general medicine rankings—as a result of greatly increased citations—is a validation of the work that we have been doing in recent years to increase the relevance of our content to healthcare practitioners around the world. Almost a quarter of articles published in The BMJ have a US lead author, and we hope that even more US authors will now submit their best work to The BMJ.