Journal metrics

Journal impact metrics purport to measure the importance of a journal relative to other journals in the same field.

While potentially useful, these metrics are controversial. It is important to understand how scholarly publishing in a given field works and how the metrics are constructed. What works in biology can’t be applied to history. See Limitations of bibliometrics for more.

Common tools

Each tool measures the relative impact of journals for which it provides indexing. Not all journals are tracked by these tools so consulting more than one tool is advised.

  • Journal Citation Reports
    • Based on Web of Science data. See content included.
    • Content includes Sciences and Social Sciences.
    • Ranks journals with several factors: impact, five-year impact, total cites, Eigenfactor metrics.
    • See the training videos for guidance on the various ways to use Journal Citation Reports.
  • Eigenfactor
    • Based on Web of Science/Journal Citation Reports data.
    • Provides two metrics: Eigenfactor (measure of the journal’s total importance to the scientific community) and Article Influence (measure of the average influence of each of a journal’s articles over the first five years after publication).
  • SJR: SCImago Journal & Country Rank
    • Based on Scopus data. See content included.
    • Content includes Sciences and Social Sciences.
    • Ranks journals via many factors including: SCImago Journal Rank Indicator, Journal h-index, Total cites, and Cites per document.
  • Harzing’s Publish or Perish (requires download/installation)