It has come to our attention that IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering recently published a pre-print paper about the Journal Impact Factor, titled “Metamorphic Robustness Testing: Exposing Hidden Defects in Citation Statistics and Journal Impact Factors” authored by Zhi Quan Zhou, T.H. Tse, and Matt Witheridge.
The paper claims that “inclusion of hyphens in paper titles impedes citation counts.” A key feature of the Journal Citation Report is that we use both linked and unlinked citations to calculate the Journal Impact Factor. We do not rely on article title to unify “citation to source” records in the Web of Science, as this field can be ambiguous and prone to error, so hyphens alone in a cited reference article title will not prevent a cited reference from linking to a source.
Therefore hyphens in the article title have no impact on citation counts within the Journal Citation Report, or the Journal Impact Factor.
Our full response, in the form of a letter to the Editor of IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, can be downloaded here.