Max Planck Society's open access journals have high impact factors

Living Reviews in Relativity stays at top spot, Living Reviews in Solar Physics rated for the first time and scores third place

July 12, 2012
With an impact factor of 17,462 in the worldwide rating of scientific journals, the open access journal Living Reviews in Relativity published by the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute) in Potsdam continues to be number one in the "Physics, Particles & Fields" category. Living Reviews in Solar Physics published by the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Katlenburg-Lindau was rated for the first time ever and with an impact factor of 12,500 instantly hit third place in the "Astronomy & Astrophysics" category. These results were recently published in the Journal Citation Report issued by Thomson Reuters.

"The rating shows that both journals are prime sources of current information in their respective fields of research," says Bernard Schutz, director of the Albert Einstein Institute and founder and chief editor of Living Reviews in Relativity. Sami Solanki, director of the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Katlenburg-Lindau and chief editor of Living Reviews in Solar Physics, agrees with this statement as both open access journals rank very highly among all open access and print journals published worldwide in all scientific fields: "It is a small sensation that Living Reviews in Relativity stands at number 54 and Living Reviews in Solar Physics at 103 on the list of the 8,000 scientific journals evaluated today. This testifies to the growing importance of the idea of open access journals."

The journal impact factor is one of the most used tools for assessing the importance of a scientific journal. It allows users to objectively appraise a journal's status and overall influence on the scientific community. The higher its impact factor, the more important the journal. A journal's impact factor indicates the average number of citations to articles published within the last two years.

"Open access" is the heading under which scientists and scientific organisations worldwide have committed themselves to providing unrestricted access to scientific information. The Max Planck Society has played a pioneering role and Living Reviews in Relativity has paved the way for open access publication of research results. For the past 14 years, the journal has been providing top quality information in the field of relativity research, a field of science established by Albert Einstein.

The founders of Living Reviews, primarily Bernard Schutz, are leading international actors that drive the further development of open access publishing. A key element of these activities is the discussion that has evolved around the "Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities".

Background information

Living Reviews was initiated by Bernard Schutz in 1998. The concept of "living" overview articles makes use of the advantages of web-based electronic publishing to enable authors to incorporate current developments and research results by keeping information up-to-date. To guarantee a high standard of scientific quality, all authors are invited by an international panel of publishers and all articles are reviewed by experts.

The successful concept of Living Reviews in Relativity has been adopted by other publications in various fields ranging from astronomy to political sciences. At present, five Living Reviews journals are published by the Max Planck Society, the European Community Studies Association Austria (ECSA), the ETH and University of Zurich and the Leibniz Association. Apart from Living Reviews in Relativity, they are:

2004: Living Reviews in Solar Physics 

2006: Living Reviews in European Governance

2007: Living Reviews in Landscape Research

2009: Living Reviews in Democracy

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