Journal of Forensic Sciences (J Forensic Sci)

Publisher: Wiley

Journal description

The Journal of Forensic Sciences is the official publication of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS). It is devoted to the publication of original investigations, observations, scholarly inquiries, and reviews in the various branches of the forensic sciences. These include Pathology and Biology, Toxicology, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, General, Odontology, Physical Anthropology, Jurisprudence, Criminalistics, Questioned Documents, and Engineering Sciences. Similar submissions dealing with forensic-oriented aspects of the social science are also published.

Current impact factor: 1.16

Impact Factor Rankings

2015 Impact Factor Available summer 2016
2014 Impact Factor 1.16
2013 Impact Factor 1.306
2012 Impact Factor 1.244
2011 Impact Factor 1.229
2010 Impact Factor 1.159
2009 Impact Factor 1.524
2008 Impact Factor 1.088
2007 Impact Factor 1.037
2006 Impact Factor 0.846
2005 Impact Factor 1.026
2004 Impact Factor 0.881
2003 Impact Factor 1.237
2002 Impact Factor 0.787
2001 Impact Factor 0.883
2000 Impact Factor 0.939
1999 Impact Factor 0.99
1998 Impact Factor 0.769
1997 Impact Factor 1.404
1996 Impact Factor 0.867
1995 Impact Factor 1.224
1994 Impact Factor 0.621
1993 Impact Factor 1.154
1992 Impact Factor 0.655

Impact factor over time

Impact factor

Additional details

5-year impact 1.37
Cited half-life 9.60
Immediacy index 0.21
Eigenfactor 0.01
Article influence 0.40
Website Journal of Forensic Sciences website
Other titles Journal of forensic sciences (En ligne)
ISSN 1556-4029
OCLC 300302550
Material type Periodical, Internet resource
Document type Internet Resource, Journal / Magazine / Newspaper

Publisher details


  • Pre-print
    • Author can archive a pre-print version
  • Post-print
    • Author cannot archive a post-print version
  • Restrictions
    • 12 months embargo
  • Conditions
    • Some journals have separate policies, please check with each journal directly
    • On author's personal website, institutional repositories, arXiv, AgEcon, PhilPapers, PubMed Central, RePEc or Social Science Research Network
    • Author's pre-print may not be updated with Publisher's Version/PDF
    • Author's pre-print must acknowledge acceptance for publication
    • Non-Commercial
    • Publisher's version/PDF cannot be used
    • Publisher source must be acknowledged with citation
    • Must link to publisher version with set statement (see policy)
    • If OnlineOpen is available, BBSRC, EPSRC, MRC, NERC and STFC authors, may self-archive after 12 months
    • If OnlineOpen is available, AHRC and ESRC authors, may self-archive after 24 months
    • Publisher last contacted on 07/08/2014
    • This policy is an exception to the default policies of 'Wiley'
  • Classification
    ​ yellow

Publications in this journal

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Timing of oviposition on a corpse is a key factor in entomologically based minimum postmortem interval (mPMI) calculations. However, there is considerable variation in nocturnal oviposition behavior of blow flies reported in the research literature. This study investigated nocturnal oviposition in central England for the first time, over 25 trials from 2011 to 2013. Liver-baited traps were placed in an urban location during control (diurnal), and nocturnal periods and environmental conditions were recorded during each 5-h trial. No nocturnal activity or oviposition was observed during the course of the study indicating that nocturnal oviposition is highly unlikely in central England. © 2015 American Academy of Forensic Sciences.
    Journal of Forensic Sciences 11/2015; In Press. DOI:10.1111/1556-4029.12841
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    ABSTRACT: In cases of partial or poor print recovery and lack of database/suspect print, fingerprint evidence is generally neglected. In light of such constraints, this study was designed to examine whether ridge density can aid in narrowing down the investigation for sex identification. The study was conducted on the right-hand index digit of 245 males and 246 females belonging to the Punjabis of Delhi region. Five ridge density count areas, namely upper radial, radial, ulnar, upper ulnar, and proximal, were selected and designated. Probability of sex origin was calculated, and stepwise discriminant function analysis was performed to determine the discriminating ability of the selected areas. Females were observed with a significantly higher ridge density than males in all the five areas. Discriminant function analysis and logistic regression exhibited 96.8% and 97.4% accuracy, respectively, in sex identification. Hence, fingerprint ridge density is a potential tool for sex identification, even from partial prints.
    Journal of Forensic Sciences 09/2015; DOI:10.1111/1556-4029.12959
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    ABSTRACT: Suicidal insulin overdoses are an under-recognized and uncommon cause of death, often relying on scene and nonspecific autopsy findings. Here, we present a case report of a fatal exogenous insulin overdose in a patient with type 1 diabetes. In our case, there were no contributory autopsy findings; however, serum analog aspart insulin levels were c. 10× the predicted therapeutic upper limit (4000, reference 6.6-55 uU/mL), which correlated with scene findings. This was specifically determined by a newly developed immunocapture liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry assay, able to discriminate between various synthetic insulin analogs. Total insulin levels by immunoassay were highly elevated on the Siemens Advia Centaur, but not the Roche platforms (4741 vs. 5.2 uU/mL, respectively), showing variable sensitivity of detection within the same analog depending on assay. We discuss the prevalence and features to look for at autopsy in these types of cases. Additionally, analytical options for testing insulin levels, including new methodologies, guidance on collection of samples, as well as an outline of available historical reference range data are discussed.
    Journal of Forensic Sciences 09/2015; DOI:10.1111/1556-4029.12958
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    ABSTRACT: Although the problem of handwriting variability due to lying body position has practical significance, particularly for last will cases, it has not been sufficiently studied. The presented experiment aimed to recognize how such posture may influence handwriting features. Samples of text and signatures were collected from 50 healthy individuals, aged 23-58, produced in three postures: typical sitting position (SP) and two different lying positions (LP1 & LP2). Using the SP sample of each individual as a specimen, eleven characteristics in LP1 and LP2 samples were evaluated as similar or different. Nine other features were measured with a specialized software, and their conformity was tested with Student's t-test. Although none of the characteristics differed significantly in most cases, variation occurred in pen pressure, margins, baselines, and heights of letters. Additionally, a series of blind tests revealed that lying position of the individuals did not hinder the possibility to identify their writings.
    Journal of Forensic Sciences 09/2015; DOI:10.1111/1556-4029.12948
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    ABSTRACT: Electrokinetic injection (EI) is the primary method used in forensic laboratories to load amplified PCR product in capillary electrophoresis for short tandem repeat (STR) fragment separation. Because all samples subjected to capillary electrophoresis use internal lane standard (ILS), this study investigated the consequence of varying the volume of ILS and its effects on allele peak heights and number of alleles detected. Results demonstrated that when the volume of ILS is reduced, the average peak height and number of alleles increased, thereby increasing the sensitivity of the detection method. Sizing anomalies were observed; however, they did not adversely affect accuracy and precision. The method developed in this study offers a simple and universal procedure to increase the alleles detected in forensic STR analysis. Reducing the volume of ILS to achieve greater sensitivity is applicable to all STR amplification kits and capillary electrophoresis instruments currently used in forensic DNA analysis.
    Journal of Forensic Sciences 09/2015; DOI:10.1111/1556-4029.12945
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    ABSTRACT: Over a period of 21 years, a number of fired GLOCK cartridge cases have been evaluated. A total of 1632 GLOCK firearms were used to generate a sample of the same size. Our research hypothesis was that no cartridge cases fired from different 9-mm semiautomatic GLOCK pistols would be mistaken as coming from the same gun. Using optical comparison microscopy, two separate experiments were carried out to test this hypothesis. A subsample of 617 test-fired cases were subjected to algorithmic comparison by the Integrated Ballistics Identification System (IBIS). The second experiment subjected the full set of 1632 cases to manual comparisons using traditional pattern matching. None of the cartridge cases were "matched" by either of these two experiments. Using these empirical findings, an established Bayesian probability model was used to estimate the chance that a 9-mm cartridge case, fired from a GLOCK, could be mistaken as coming from the same firearm when in fact it did not (i.e., the random match probability).
    Journal of Forensic Sciences 09/2015; DOI:10.1111/1556-4029.12940
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    ABSTRACT: This work reviews the hazards and risks of practicing forensic anthropology in North America, with a focus on pathogens encountered through contact with unpreserved human remains. Since the publication of Galloway and Snodgrass' seminal paper concerning the hazards of forensic anthropology, research has provided new information about known pathogen hazards, and regulating authorities have updated recommendations for the recognition and treatment of several infections. Additionally, forensic anthropology has gained popularity, exposing an increased number of students and practitioners to these hazards. Current data suggest many occupational exposures to blood or body fluids go unreported, especially among students, highlighting the need for this discussion. For each pathogen and associated disease, this work addresses important history, reviews routes of exposure, provides an overview of symptoms and treatments, lists decontamination procedures, and presents data on postmortem viability. Personal protection and laboratory guidelines should be established and enforced in conjunction with the consideration of these data.
    Journal of Forensic Sciences 09/2015; DOI:10.1111/1556-4029.12947
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    ABSTRACT: Six multiplex PCR systems using single-base extension reactions to analyze 46 mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA)-coding region single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that define 42 haplogroups, that is, 24 major mtDNA haplogroups and 18 subclades, were devised. To improve the usefulness of the established systems for the analysis of degraded DNA samples, novel primers to render amplicons with sizes <150 bp were designed. By applying these systems to 214 Japanese individuals, 24 different haplogroups (power of discrimination = 93.4%) were found. To assess the effectiveness of our systems in grouping degraded DNA, an ancient bone sample of a Jomon skeleton was analyzed and then classified as haplogroup N9b. We conclude that the present systems are powerful screening tools for major haplogroups of mtDNA in addition to the prevalent subhaplogroups in the Japanese population and that these systems are capable of analyzing highly degraded DNA samples in forensic studies.
    Journal of Forensic Sciences 09/2015; DOI:10.1111/1556-4029.12961
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    ABSTRACT: This paper focuses on potential hazards and risks to forensic anthropologists while working in the field and laboratory in North America. Much has changed since Galloway and Snodgrass published their seminal article addressing these issues. The increased number of forensic practitioners combined with new information about potential hazards calls for an updated review of these pathogens and chemicals. Discussion of pathogen hazards (Brucella, Borrelia burgdorferi, Yersinia pestis, Clostridium tetani and West Nile virus) includes important history, exposure routes, environmental survivability, early symptoms, treatments with corresponding morbidity and mortality rates, and decontamination measures. Additionally, data pertaining to the use of formaldehyde in the laboratory environment have resulted in updated safety regulations, and these are highlighted. These data should inform field and laboratory protocols. The hazards of working directly with human remains are discussed in a companion article, "An Update on the Hazards and Risks of Forensic Anthropology, Part I: Human Remains."
    Journal of Forensic Sciences 09/2015; DOI:10.1111/1556-4029.12949
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    ABSTRACT: Contemporary, population-specific ossification timings of the cranium are lacking in current literature due to challenges in obtaining large repositories of documented subadult material, forcing Australian practitioners to rely on North American, arguably antiquated reference standards for age estimation. This study assessed the temporal pattern of ossification of the cranium and provides recalibrated probabilistic information for age estimation of modern Australian children. Fusion status of the occipital and frontal bones, atlas, and axis was scored using a modified two- to four-tier system from cranial/cervical DICOM datasets of 585 children aged birth to 10 years. Transition analysis was applied to elucidate maximum-likelihood estimates between consecutive fusion stages, in conjunction with Bayesian statistics to calculate credible intervals for age estimation. Results demonstrate significant sex differences in skeletal maturation (p < 0.05) and earlier timings in comparison with major literary sources, underscoring the requisite of updated standards for age estimation of modern individuals.
    Journal of Forensic Sciences 09/2015; DOI:10.1111/1556-4029.12956
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    ABSTRACT: Tear gases are used by police or armed forces for control of riots or social events or by the general population for private self-defense. These agents are used widely throughout the world, but some harmful effects have reported. In addition, despite well-defined chemical side effects documented in the literature, data are insufficient regarding mechanical injury due to tear gas capsules. We report three cases of severe maxillofacial injury in patients who had these capsules fired from tear gas guns directly to their faces. The capsules penetrated the patients' faces, causing potentially fatal injuries. To our knowledge, reports of this kind of injury related to tear gas capsules are very rare in the literature. In conclusion, tear gas guns may be very dangerous in terms of human health and they may cause severe injuries, especially when they are not used according to strict guidelines.
    Journal of Forensic Sciences 09/2015; DOI:10.1111/1556-4029.12954
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    ABSTRACT: Estimation of time of death is an indispensible requirement of every medico-legal autopsy, but unfortunately, there is not a single method by which it could be determined accurately. This study focused on the temperature-dependent postmortem degradation of cardiac troponin-T and its association with postmortem interval (PMI) in human. The analysis involved extraction of the protein, separation by denaturing gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE), and visualization by Western blot using cTnT-specific monoclonal antibodies. The area of the bands within a lane was quantified by scanning and digitizing the image using Gel Doc (Universal Hood). The results indicate a characteristic banding pattern among human cadavers (n = 6) and a pseudo-linear relationship between percentage of cTnT degradation and the log of the time since death (r > 0.95), which can be used to estimate the postmortem interval. The data presented demonstrate that this technique can provide an extended time range during which PMI can be more accurately estimated.
    Journal of Forensic Sciences 09/2015; DOI:10.1111/1556-4029.12928
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    ABSTRACT: Hanging deaths associated with binding of limbs, masking of a face, and gagging are always suspicious. In suicidal hanging, the victim uses these added techniques to prevent him from backing out of his decision and to ensure death. However, binding of limbs and adding extra weight to the suspension in hanging are not reported. Herein, we report a case where the victim tied a bag containing books weighing 7 kg (15.4 lbs) to both his hands during hanging. The forensic specialist must be aware of the unusual presentation of suicidal hanging which may suggest foul play. The manner of death must be established after detailed analysis of circumstantial evidence, information obtained from the witnesses, complete autopsy, and toxicological examination.
    Journal of Forensic Sciences 09/2015; DOI:10.1111/1556-4029.12930
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    ABSTRACT: Hydrophilic polymers are used to coat catheters and other intravascular devices. In general, these polymers have many salutary properties; however, in some instances, fragmentation of hydrophilic polymers coating intravascular devices can occur with fatal consequences. This report details the histopathologic changes in the lung seen following polymer fragmentation and embolization from a central venous catheter. Polymer emboli detected microscopically are intravascular and consist of basophilic, lamellated, and nonrefractile elements. Typically, an inflammatory response is present to a variable degree. Embolization can result in severe tissue injury with ischemia and infarction.
    Journal of Forensic Sciences 09/2015; DOI:10.1111/1556-4029.12934
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    ABSTRACT: The objective of this study was to determine the presence of corticosteroids in illegal herbal medicines using ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. We collected 212 herbal medicine samples that were advertised as being effective for treatment of joint pain and bone aches. Samples were from the Korean commercial market during a span of four years (2010-2013), and the method was validated. The limits of quantification ranged from 0.47 to 15.0 ng/mL, and recoveries ranged from 80.6% to 119.5%. The intra- and interday precision ranged from 0.18% to 8.82% and from 0.09% to 8.96%, respectively. Among the samples, three samples (1.4%) were identified as adulterants. Dexamethasone was the only compound detected in the adulterated products. As the corticosteroid-adulteration of herbal medicines may become a major problem and lead to side effects, the continued development of screening procedures for herbal medicines is critical.
    Journal of Forensic Sciences 09/2015; DOI:10.1111/1556-4029.12906