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What are journal rankings / impact factors?
Journal rankings can reveal a journal's influence by looking at how often a journal's articles have been cited. Various methodologies exist to rate and rank journals on different criteria.
Journal rankings can help a researcher determine which journals they should try to publish in and which journals are the most respected in a specific field.
Factors that Influence Journal Impact
- Date of Publication: Impact factor is is usually based on 1, 2, 3, or 5 year time periods. Journals with articles that are steadily cited for a long period of time (more than 5 years) rather than immediately lose out.
- Large vs. Small Journals: Large journals tend to have higher impact factors.
- Average Citation: Impact factor only looks at an average citation. A journal may have a few highly cited papers that greatly increase its impact factor, while other papers in that same journal may not be cited at all.
- Review Articles: Impact factors are calculated using citations not only from research articles but also review articles (which tend to receive more citations), editorials, letters, meeting abstracts, and notes.
- Changing / Growing Fields: Rapidly changing fields have much higher immediate citation rates.
Be aware: Sometimes the term "impact factor" is used informally, and someone might want the actual formal Journal Impact Factor for a journal from the database Journal Citation Reports or they want any credible measure of impact. If it is truly the "Impact Factor". It is a highly vetted list and journals care about anything that might mess up their impact factor. HOWEVER, There are other journal impact measures in part because many journals are just not included in JCR. And these other journal impact measures may still measure quality or traction. There are initiatives to try to get everyone to stop thinking of quality as only having to do with impact factor and also to not evaluate individual articles or scholars in terms of impact factor -this is good!
Journal Impact / Rankings Sources
Journal Citation Reports (JCR) This link opens in a new window
Evaluate and compare scholarly journals in all areas of the sciences and social sciences. Results can be used to determine which journals are the most important and influential in their respective disciplines based on high impact and citations.
From the University of Washington. Designates the 'Article Influence' and 'Eigenfactor' for scholarly journals, popular magazines, PhD theses, and newsprint in the natural and social sciences. The 'Article Influence' is a measure of a journal's prestige based on per article citations. The 'Eigenfactor' is a measure of the overall value provided by all of the articles published in a given journal in a year.
Google Scholar Metrics
Use the h-index for articles published in the last 5 complete years. to rank journals by broad subject and then by sub-category.
Cabell's Scholarly Analytics This link opens in a new window
Cabell's supplies varied information for researchers looking for a journal to publish their research results. One element they supply is the Cabell's Classificatlon Index (CCI). This Index employs a methodology for reviewing journal quality that considers disciplinary perspectives in assessing journal influence. Research is increasingly cross-disciplinary and any journal might publish articles relevant to several fields. As such, researchers in different fields often use and value the same journal differently. For example, a top computer science journal might sometimes publish articles about educational technology, but researchers in educational technology might not really “care” about this journal the same way computer scientists do. CCI attempts to ascertain: “How and to whom is this journal important?”
Harzing.com: Journal Quality List
The 'Journal Quality List' is a compilation of academic journal rankings from a number of sources in areas of Communications, Economics, Finance, Accounting, Management, Marketing, Psychology, Sociology, and Tourism.
Scimago Journal & Country Rank
This portal includes the journals and country scientific indicators developed from the information contained in the Scopus® database. These indicators could be used to assess and analyze scientific domains.
Calculates the average number of citations received in a calendar year by all items published in that journal in the preceding three years.
Other criteria you can use you think about a journal’s impact:
- Who is on the journal's editorial board? Are they recognized scholars in your field?
- Who is publishing in that journal? Are they also recognized scholars in your field?
- Is the journal indexed in databases relevant to your field?
- Is the journal affiliated with a professional organization, scholarly society, or conference relevant to your subject area?