Journal-level metrics measure the aggregate impact or influence that a journal has on its community or discipline. This measurement may vary depending on the source. Examples of journal metrics include:
Citation analysis is a quantifiable measure of academic output. Users need to be aware of the limitations and incongruities of citation metrics. Library subscription databases and Google Scholar do not correct errors in citing papers. This means that one paper may be cited many different ways and appear as separate entries in these tools. Also, author and institutional naming inconsistencies complicate these analyses. Comparisons between these tools should be avoided. The databases use different sources to generate data and some are more comprehensive than others.
A Journal's Impact Factor (JIF) is one of the most well-known journal-level metrics that helps gauge journal performance. To find a JIF, you will need access to a Web of Science product called the Journal Citation Reports (JCR), an annual compendium of citation data that provides a systematic and objective means to assess influence and impact at the journal and category levels. It reports on the citation impact of a defined set of journals at a given moment in time. Researchers should use the journal metric that corresponds to their article's publication year.
To receive a JIF, a journal must be included in the Science Citation Index Expanded (SCIE) or Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI) of the Web of Science. Not all journals are indexed in these two sources, since Web of Science only scopes a defined set of journals. A newer journal may appear in the JCR after its first full year of publication. However, please note that the new journal's impact factor will be calculated from the journal's first year of established source data and two prior years of null or zero source data. An accurate impact factor requires three complete years of known source data. JIFs are are available in yearly and 5-year calculations.
Source: Clarivate Analytics. (2017). Journal Citation Reports: A Primer on the JCR and Journal Impact Factor. Retrieved from https://clarivate.com/webofsciencegroup/article/journal-citation-reports-new-primer/
2017 Yearly Journal Impact Factor formula:
263 (items published in 2015) + 149 (items published in 2016) = 412
52 (number of citable items in 2015) + 56 (number of citable items in 2016) = 108
Calculation: 412 (items published in 2015 and 2016) / 108 (citable items in 2015 and 2016) = 3.815
Note that citable items are "... those identified in the Web of Science as an article, review or proceedings paper and are considered the substantive articles that contribute to the body of scholarship in a particular research field and those most likely to be cited by other articles."
A 5-Year Journal Impact Factor shows the long-term citation trend for a journal. This is calculated differently from the yearly JIF, so it is not simply an average of the Impact Factors in the time period. A base of five years may be more appropriate for journals in certain fields because the body of citations may not be large enough to make reasonable comparisons, publication schedules may be consistently late, or it may take longer than two years to disseminate and respond to published works. It can also be a more accurate measure in some fields whose citation patterns tend not to concentrate as much on the most recent literature.
2017 5-Year Journal Impact Factor formula:
532 (cites in 2017 to items published in 2012) + 240 (cites in 2017 to items published in 2013) + 371 (cites in 2017 to items published in 2014) + 263 (cites in 2017 to items published in 2015) + 149 (cites in 2017 to items published in 2016) = 1555
44 (number of items published in 2012) + 41 (number of items published in 2013) + 49 (number of items published in 2014) + 52 (number of items published in 2015) + 56 (number of items published in 2016) = 242
Calculation: 1555 (cites to recent items) / 242 (number of recent items) = 6.426
Faculty value and/or rank the journals in their field of study. Some disciplines are interdisciplinary and fall into several different category rankings, so a researcher in a new discipline, such as food studies, might look to publish in highly ranked journals in geography and anthropology, depending on the subject area of research they wish to publish. There are a few tools that can help identify where one can publish work. Sometimes these are identified before research is conducted, so as to adhere to journal publishing requirements, and sometimes this is done after the fact, depending on the nature of the research. To identify journal rankings, researchers might rely on other faculty in their field, available library resources, or freely available tools on the web.
Using Scopus, locate the CiteScore ranking for a particular journal by following these directions:
Using Web of Science, locate a journal's rank in category by following these steps:
A journal’s acceptance rate can lend a sense of status and rigor. Publishing in a journal with a lower acceptance rate could indicate a higher level of selectivity. Although, narrowly focused “specialty” or niche journals often have relatively high acceptance rates because far fewer authors submit to them. These journals will often be the most suitable publication for an author's work. This is why an author should always accompany acceptance rates with qualitative statements in order to help explain a journal's prestige to someone who may not be as familiar with this publishing venue. For more information, see How to interpret journal acceptance rates.
Acceptance rates are not always publicly available. To find a journal's acceptance rate, check the resources on this page, search the journal's website or contact the publisher directly.
h-indexes are metrics available at the journal-level and author-level. h indicates that a researcher or journal has published h articles that have been cited h or more times. For more information regarding h-index at the author level, view the Author-level Metrics tab.
Google Scholar now tracks journal h-index based on citations from all publications that are indexed in Google Scholar. Google Scholar reports the "h5-index" as the h-index calculated using the most recent five years of a journal's publication history. Users can search for metrics on a specific title or view the top-rated journals in a certain language or subject area.
Google Scholar generally finds more citing articles than Web of Science because these two sources search different bodies of literature. This may explain why Google Scholar's h-indexes are usually higher. Word of caution: do not compare two journals' metrics unless you are generating the same data for each using the same sources (Google Scholar, Web Of Science, etc).
CiteScore 2019 counts the citations received in 2016-2019 to articles, reviews, conference papers, book chapters and data papers published in 2016-2019, and divides this by the number of publications published in 2016-2019. Want to learn more? Visit Citescore FAQ