Journal impact is an ill-structured, complex construct. Present bibliometric and survey measures do not capture it fully. The paper deconstructs the combinatorial complexity of the construct using an ontology which encapsulates 2500 potential components of the construct. The ontology is a parsimonious, systemic, and systematic representation of journal impact. The paper presents an ontological analysis of the impact aspirations of 31 top MIS journals (from one of the published surveys) based on their editorial statements. These statements were mapped to the ontology by the authors using consensus coding. The ontological and heat maps derived from the editorial statements reveal significant ‘bright’, ‘light’, and ‘blank/blind’ spots – aspects with heavy, light, and no emphasis. The differences in luminosity pose a number of questions about the impact these journals seek in the emerging turbulent, competitive research publication market. A comparison of these maps with the journals’ bibliometric and survey impact measures highlights the differences between the impact measures, their strengths and weaknesses. The ontology and ontological mapping can be used by the journal editors to realign their impact aspirations and strategies in the emerging marketplace.