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Impact of Research and Scholarly Works: Journal Rankings (Journal Impact)

Research the impact of a journal, article, individual, or group using a variety of metrics.

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

More Information

Other Criteria

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?