Graduate Student Resources

Introduction

Quantitative analysis of journals is a way traditional peer review may be augmented to gain a more complete picture of a scholar's impact in his chosen field.  Three measures can be used:

  • number of publications
  • number of times an author's publications have been cited
  • the importance of the journal where the article is published, or the Journal Ranking.

Knowing the impact or importance of the journal can help in decisions about where an author will choose to submit an article. 

Tools for Researching Journals

  • The Journal Citation Reports/JCR provides quantitative tools for ranking, evaluating, categorizing, and comparing journals.  The impact factor is one of these; it is a measure of the frequency with which the "average article" in a journal has been cited in a particular year or period.  The annual JCR impact factor is a ratio between citations and recent citable items published.  Impact factors are only assigned to a select group of journals in the sciences and social sciences.  JCR can show:
    • Most frequently cited journals in a field
    • Hottest journals in a field
    • Highest impact journals in a field
    • Most published articles in a field
    • Subject category data for benchmarking
  • Ulrich's Periodicals Directory provides access to bibliographic, publisher, and access information for more than 300,000 serials of all types, including journals, Open Access publications, popular magazines, newspapers and newsletters.  Records include ISSN, publisher, language, subject, abstracting & indexing coverage, full-text database coverage, tables of contents and reviews written by librarians. 
  • WorldCat is a union catalog that contains over 50 million bibliographic records describing resources cataloged by libraries around the world.  This catalog can tell you how many libraries own your book or favorite journal.
  • MLA Directory of Periodicals provides detailed information on over 5,500 journals.  Entries include editorial contact information as well as frequency, circulation, subscription prices, and submission guidelines.  The Directory also provides statistics on how many articles and book reviews the periodicals publish each year as well as how many are submitted.

Google Scholar Metrics

  • Google Scholar Metrics provide an easy way for authors to quickly gauge the visibility and influence of recent articles in scholarly publications. Scholar Metrics summarize recent citations to many publications, to help authors as they consider where to publish their new research. Scholar Metrics currently cover articles published between 2009 and 2013, both inclusive. The metrics are based on citations from all articles that were indexed in Google Scholar in June 2014. This also includes citations from articles that are not themselves covered by Scholar Metrics.
  • The Metrics rank publications in Google Scholar by analyzing hte last five years of journal articles from websites that follow Google's includsion guidelines as well as conference articles and preprints from a small number of manually identified sources.  Excludes publications with less than 100 articles during the five-year period and those with no ctiations.  The metrics provided are the h-index, h-core, h-median, h5-index, h5-core, and h5-median.

Other Journal Ranking Systems

As an alternative to using impact factors from the Journal Citation Reports, many new sites have appeared on the Internet using other metrics.

Impact Factor

An impact factor is a way of measuring the relative ranking of a journal within a particular field.  Ranked lists of journals can be used to:

  • Identify prestigious and influential journals in a particular discipline.
  • Identify highly ranked journals in which to publish.
  • Help determine the allocation of research funds.

The Journal Impact Factor is the average number of times articles from the journal published in the past two years have been cited in the JCR year.

The Impact Factor is calculated by dividing the number of citations in the JCR year by the total number of articles published in the two previous years. An Impact Factor of 1.0 means that, on average, the articles published one or two year ago have been cited one time. An Impact Factor of 2.5 means that, on average, the articles published one or two year ago have been cited two and a half times. The citing works may be articles published in the same journal. However, most citing works are from different journals, proceedings, or books.