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EHP Credibility Reflected in Climbing Numbers

By Colleen Chandler
September 2005

The numbers are speaking loud and clear. Editor-in-Chief Tom Goehl and his crew in Environmental Health Perspectives exerted a lot of effort over the past four years to improve the journal's credibility and to establish it as a top-notch journal. The numbers reflect their success.

The journal's Impact Factor rose climbed to another all-time high last year at 3.92, and the Immediacy Index rose to 1.202. In addition, EHP is cited in the popular press an average of six times per day. Since open access was implemented at the end of 2002 to allow everyone electronic access to the journal, the average monthly hits more than tripled, jumping from 197,340 to 622,090.

Based on the Impact Factor, EHP ranks in the top two environmental science journals and among the top five public health journals, Goehl said. Goehl served as science editor for the journal from 1994 until 2001, when he became editor-in-chief.

Both the Impact Factor and the Immediacy Index come out mid-year, usually in June. The Impact Factor is based on the number of times EHP is cited by authors in research articles that appear in other journals. Over the past four years, the Impact Factor has gone up 30 percent, or an entire point.

The Impact Factor and the Immediacy Index are based on averages over different periods of time. The 2005 Impact Factor reflects an average of citations in 2002 and 2003. The Immediacy Index, as the name suggests, is based on more current information, reflecting the frequency of citations during the previous year. The 2005 Immediacy Index indicates every article in EHP was cited 1.2 times in other journals in 2005. The 2004 Immediacy Index was .8, and the highest it had been before that was .5.

Goehl attributes the increasing numbers to the quality of the articles. "Success builds on success," he said. The number of manuscript submissions to EHP has doubled over the past four years, going from about 600 submissions to about 1,200 submissions annually. The rejection rate is 80 percent. EHP also has a quick turnaround time compared to other journals. It publishes manuscripts online within 24 hours of acceptance while many journals publish a year or longer from the date of acceptance, Goehl said.

The printed version is distributed in more than 190 countries and has a circulation of about 5,000 copies. Complimentary copies of EHP are provided to institutions in developing countries, and EHP publishes a Chinese version quarterly. The Chinese edition is distributed to about 35,000 readers.

The electronic version, available at, has more than 150,000 individual users each month. The content is fed into PubMed Central, the digital archive of the National Library of Medicine. The average number of monthly visitors during the past year is 174, 748, according to Paul Cardullo, who manages the site.

Besides manuscripts that target the research community, EHP's environmental news section targets the general public and policymakers. EHP is also involved in a number of international outreach projects to support developing countries in their efforts to improve the scientific and medical capabilities. Capacity building, as it is called, includes sharing information. For example, EHP provides its content for translation and use in partner journals in those countries. EHP is involved in journal capacity building on four continents: North America (Mexico), South America (Brazil and Chile), Asia (China), and Africa (Ghana, Mali, Malawi, and Uganda), Goehl said. EHP staff mentors editors from those countries and provides technical training

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