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Scholarly Publishing: Journal Metrics

What Are Journal Metrics?

Journal metrics, like Impact Factor, are used to find citation trends and patterns within journals and subject fields.  Journal metrics can be used to:

  • evaluate the impact of a journal within its field
  • select highly-cited journals for manuscript submission
  • assist in determining an author's impact

Understanding Journal Acceptance Rates

Identifying the acceptance rates of journals can be very helpful when deciding where to publish your research and throughout the promotion and tenure process.  Each journal publication has their own way of calculating the acceptance rate, whether it uses the total number of manuscripts received or total number of manuscripts reviewed by editors.  No matter what the method may be, journal publications with low acceptance rates are considered to be more prestigious.

Methods of locating a journal's acceptance rate:

  • Sometimes journals will include this data in the information for authors page of websites or print publications
  • Professional societies or associations may share the acceptance rates of journals within their discipline
  • Contact the editor of the journal for the specific acceptance rate

What is the "Impact Factor?"

The Journal Impact Factor (JIF) is a measure reflecting the average number of citations to articles published in journals, books, patent document, thesis, project reports, news papers, conference/ seminar proceedings, documents published in internet, notes and any other approved documents. It is a measure of the relative importance of a journal within its field, with journals of higher journal impact factors deemed to be more important than those with lower ones. 

Determining a Journal's Impact

Thomson Reuters Journal Citation Reports (JCR) is the official source of Journal Impact Factors™.  Unfortunately, it requires a subscription and the CORE Library does not yet subscribe. 

However, information can also be found in other places:

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR)  This tool uses Scopus journal information to allow users to search and analyze journal and country rankings.

Eigenfactor  Scientific journals are rated by the number of incoming citations, where citations from more highly ranked journals make a greater contribution to the eigenfactor than citations from more poorly ranked journals.  The score was developed at the University of Washington by Jevin West and Carl Bergstrom.

European Reference Index for the Humanities  ERIH is developed by and for European-language researchers. 

Google Scholar Metrics explore publications by subcategories. Journals are ordered by their five-year-h-index and h-median metrics. Click here to see the top 100 publications. 

Harzing's Publish or Perish  The software program uses Google Scholar to retrieve and analyze academic citations to present statistics on citations, journal metrics, and author metrics.

Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP)  Using the Scopus database, SNIP is “ calculated as the number of citations given in the present year to publications in the past three years divided by the total number of publications in the past three years.”  For more information, seeCWTS Journal Indicators.

Tip:  Most high-level journals report their most recent impact factor on their website.  One need only verify the impact factor.  A good source of free journal rankings and metrics is Scopus's CiteScore, which measures average citations received per document published in the serial.