The impact factor, originally devised by Eugene Garfield, offsets the advantages of journal size and age, and is a tool often used for the evaluation of journals and scientists, and is considered to provide a reliable trend of basic and clinical research worldwide. Overall, the median impact factor of all medical laboratory journals increased by 23% from 2001 to 2007, but it was slightly decreased from that of the previous year (-4.1%). Moreover, the aggregate impact factor of all these journals, which takes into account the number of citations for all journals in this category and the number of articles from all journals in the same category, increased from 2.042 in 2003 to 2.153 in 2004, but decreased to 2.060 in 2005 and has remained fairly stable in subsequent years (2.054 in 2006 and 2.080 in 2007), reflecting remarkable increases and substantial reductions observed for individual journals. This trend mirrored that of biochemistry and molecular biology journals, whereas journals listed under the subject categories "pathology", "surgery" and "Medicine, general and internal" substantially increased their aggregate impact factor from 2003 to 2007. According to the impact factor trend of laboratory medicine journals, it appears that medical laboratory science has reached a steady state. This might be partially due to the radical changes that have occurred within medical laboratory science since the beginning of the last millennium and raises the question of whether laboratory professionals should consider embracing new areas of research, such as the role of laboratory diagnostics in surgery and internal medicine.
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