Some people, in their CV or publication list, add bibliometric information to each entry. I've typically seen:

  • mention the impact factor of each journal
  • number of citations of each paper
  • mention the acceptance rate of each conference

I'm not sure it is very helpful: people from your field will surely know the journals/conferences, while people from outside your field might be more interested in a “macro” view and not go into the minute details of your publications.

Moreover, I'm not sure I like the tone it conveys: it feels like bragging (this is typically done by people who are proud of these indicators), and a bit over-the-top to me. Finally, it's well accepted by now that things like the journal impact factor are a poor measure of individual papers' merits.

So: is it accepted practice to do it? does it improve the CV? or does it risk alienating the reader?

  • 1
    Let's assume you want to include the IF: which one do you include? The one which was current when you selected the journal? When you submitted the paper? When you revised/resubmitted it? When it was accepted? When it was published? Two years after publication? The largest of them all? Or the latest one? [And do you keep track?] Listing just the impact factor raises questions like these, which you want to avoid: it does not improve the CV, in my opinion. Explaining in long detail which exact IF you cite? Does not improve the CV, either. This is an important reason for me to not include IFs.
    – bers
    Feb 12, 2018 at 21:54
  • Although that's an old question: On CV that sent for the departments it seems useless and I guess even negative. Negative because it is saying to the committee that they may be unfamiliar with good journals of the field. Or it can show that the person is so naiive that wants to pride to having a number of publications in good journals by bolding their IF. Also, it shows that the person doesn't know that there are good famous journals which their IF is less than some ordinary journals, and he is unfamiliar with what actually IF shows.
    – m123
    Mar 28 at 15:23

6 Answers 6


You should not put journal impact factors in your CV. Here's why:

  • By doing so, you imply that the IF is a useful indicator of the value of individual article(s) you have published in a journal. However, the IF is not a useful indicator in this regard, and was never intended to be.

  • You also give the impression that your research does not stand on its own merits -- that it is worthwhile only because it was stamped by a high IF journal. If your research really is important, use the grant application to explain why.

  • As other comments have stated, anyone in the field already knows the good journals -- and they're often not the ones with the highest impact factors. IF is poorly correlated with expert opinion.

  • You may still disagree, so I will appeal to your self-interest. Including the IF will leave a poor impression with evaluators who understand the limitations of the IF. They may even be signers of the Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA), which states among other things:

...the Journal Impact Factor has a number of well-documented deficiencies as a tool for research assessment. These limitations include: A) citation distributions within journals are highly skewed [1–3]; B) the properties of the Journal Impact Factor are field-specific: it is a composite of multiple, highly diverse article types, including primary research papers and reviews [1, 4]; C) Journal Impact Factors can be manipulated (or "gamed") by editorial policy [5]; and D) data used to calculate the Journal Impact Factors are neither transparent nor openly available to the public [4, 6, 7].

General Recommendation: Do not use journal-based metrics, such as Journal Impact Factors, as a surrogate measure of the quality of individual research articles, to assess an individual scientist's contributions, or in hiring, promotion, or funding decisions.

In short, by trying to use the IF to establish value of your research, you're only broadcasting your ignorance, as even Wikipedia can tell you:

It is important to note that impact factor is a journal metric and should not be used to assess individual researchers or institutions.

  • 1
    I feel this is a nice political statement (and I even agree that IFs are largely bogus for judging individual papers), but this is, I think, pretty bad advice. The chance that a reviewer feels so strongly about IFs that (s)he holds reporting them against the candidate seems very small in comparison to the potential upside of having a reviewer that values IFs.
    – xLeitix
    Jan 18, 2014 at 17:32
  • @xLeitix that's a good point. In this case I indeed want to maximise my chances over passing a political message, and the agency I'm submitting to hasn't signed the DORA.
    – Calimo
    Jan 18, 2014 at 17:50
  • Excellent point re (over) reliance on IF to evaluate one's own research.
    – OK-
    Nov 17, 2014 at 8:50

A professor (chemistry) I had once told us in the lunch break about a CV where the applicant (for a position in the medical faculty) had listed impact factors and summed them up. He was not only alienated but outright upset.

However, that was years ago and things may have changed. But I still think it weird and in my field have not seen it (chemistry/spectroscopy/chemometrics).

  • Sometimes you are required to indicate IFs in your literature list but yes, it's not common at all in chemistry.
    – user64845
    Feb 12, 2018 at 22:32

I would say that this is field specific. I work in a very interdisciplinary area and I have seen, for instance, in the field of HCI (Human-Computer Interaction), it is quite common to list acceptance rates for the major conferences (CHI, CSCW, UIST, MobileHCI etc.). HCI is very conference dominated in terms of major publications.

However, in the field of privacy (which I also consider myself affiliated to), journals matter. Everyone knows the best journals in the area (CACM, IEEE Privacy and Security etc.) so almost nobody lists impact factors or numbers of citations. Therefore, in response to your specific questions.

  1. In some fields it can be an accepted practice, in others, not so much.

  2. It might improve the CV in terms of informing folks looking at your CV who are not in your discipline (perhaps other members in a search committee). But, I don't think it really improves your CV per se.

  3. I think that there is a very low risk of actually alienating the reader. The reader is usually bound to be a scientist or academic and I don't think that the vast majority of them would get annoyed to see such numbers (especially if they are in disciplines where this is an accepted practice)


My approach for this is simple - I add all information that I think will help my case.

You have a high citation index for a researcher of your academic age? Mention it explicitly in your CV.

You have published in high-impact journals? Add the IFs to your publication entries.

You have a particular paper that won a best paper award or is very highly-cited? Highlight the paper in your publication list and name the award / citation count.

Note that this is not "boasting". You are simply making the job of the reviewer (correctly assess your merits) easier by highlighting the information that is likely important to them (awards, important publications, etc.) instead of letting them search for themselves for the high-value needles through the haystack that is your publication list.


One of the papers raised a pretty large number of citations (several hundreds) despite being published in a low IF, so I wonder how to carry this information...

Add both informations. If your paper was high-impact, it should not matter too much that the journal in general is low-impact.

  • 2
    "If your paper was high-impact, it should not matter too much that the journal in general is low-impact." Yeah, and if your paper has a tiny number of citations, it doesn't matter diddly-squat if it's published in a "high-impact" venue. Why do we have impact factors again??
    – Dnuorg Spu
    Jan 18, 2014 at 13:12
  • 1
    @DnuorgSpu Not sure if you are being sarcastic or not (Internet problem :) ), but I am assuming this is honest. I would say IF is nice to know in advance whether a journal is visible or not, or if a paper is very young (you can't expect a paper that appeared less than a year ago to already have hundreds of citations). After some time, the IF of the venue becomes meaningless in comparison to the impact of the actual paper.
    – xLeitix
    Jan 18, 2014 at 13:31
  • Fair enough. For authors I guess it helps answer the question, "will this journal do a good job of marketing my research?"
    – Dnuorg Spu
    Jan 18, 2014 at 19:46

There is no law for this so apart from any instructions for the application, it is up to you.

The impact factor (IF) will tell the evaluation committee if you publish in good journals (they probably know this anyway since they would be familiar with the field. If you have published in good journals then you should definitely do so. But, a lower IF does not mean the paper is not good but shows that your science can pass the competition to get accepted in higher ranked journals.

The citation index is of course nice to show if you think it is to your advantage. It is impossible to say what numbers are and which are not. Partly because the turn-over time between disciplines vary and partly because it will depend on for long you have written papers. There is a period of varying before your work becomes cited, usually at least a year. I had a paper that now has a very high index but had just a few until five years after publication. So what is a good number for you depends on factors that only you and peers in your discipline can evaluate.

So, if you think these numbers are to your advantage you should definitely add them. Considering you are at the beginning of your career no-one would necessarily expect high citation index and so the IF may be of more interest.

  • 2
    +1, but as side question really: Shouldn't the person reading my academic CV to hire me in an academic position, already know the good journals in my field? Isn't it a bit pedantic / show-off-ish of me saying Look-look! I am a good sport! I got a paper in Science! (IF = 18). On the other hand if the person doesn't know the journals/conferences of my field does IF matter to him? eg. JASA for Statistics is very respected journal; for Life Sciences though its IF is almost insulting, mentioning it gives the wrong idea.
    – user8458
    Jan 18, 2014 at 13:35
  • I agree with what you say but in a search committee there may be more than one person and it is not certain all know as much as the one who is the expert in the field. If you know who will look at the application then you can adapt, if you don't then you have to anticipate something and the rule usually becomes "better safe than sorry". Jan 18, 2014 at 14:32
  • To the commenters: note that the question was about a grant application, not a job application. Jan 18, 2014 at 19:03
  • @DavidKetcheson : Agreed; as mentioned what I said was a "side question really".
    – user8458
    Jan 18, 2014 at 21:54

Despite my comment giving a reason not to include impact factors in your CV, my answer here is:

Include select impact factors when it matters

When does it matter (in my opinion)?

  • When you can expect that one of the readers may not be aware of the importance of your journals because they are from a different field than you. Highlight the particularly good ones.

  • When you have published papers in different fields. You are a engineer working on microwaves, but you helped a medical doctor that you know with statistics in his research work which made you a (legit) coauthor on one of his papers, in a journal that you have never heard about before, but which carries about 15 times the impact of your regular engineering journals? I would include that impact factor alongside a description of that collaboration.

  • You have very recently published an important paper, and you expect to be cited a lot because this is a hot topic. However, the paper is so new that you only have 1-2 citations. I would mention that impact factor.

I could think of more examples, but I guess you get the idea. Don't overdo it, don't base your whole application on it - certainly don't sum impact factors. But do it where it helps you make a point.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .