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Research Impact and Author Profiles

Evaluating Journals

Journal rankings and impact factors are quantitative measures for evaluating the performance of a journal in its field.

However, there are many different factors that influence the impact of a journal. Measuring impact is not an exact science and should be used with an understanding of its limitations:

  • metrics measuring journal impact cannot necessarily be compared across different subject areas
  • different subject areas have different citation rates and behaviour
  • review articles may attract more citations irrespective of their quality
  • good quality articles and journals may go uncited
  • colleagues may cite friends to increase their visibility
  • the quality of a particular article cannot necessarily be judged by the journal it is published in

Quantitative measures of impact are often used in the Sciences, Medicine and Social Sciences but are not a useful measure of quality for Arts and Humanities journals.

Additional Resources:

Western Illinois University's Guide to Choosing and Evaluating Journals

Major Evaluation Tools

Journal Impact Factors

Journal Citation Reports

Journal Citation Reports (JCR) helps to measure research influence and impact at the journal and category levels, and shows the relationship between citing and cited journals.

Essential Science Indicators

An analytical tool from Thomson Reuters offering data for ranking scientists, institutions, countries and journals. With Essential Science Indicators, you can:

  • Analyze research performance of companies, institutions, nations, and journals
  • Identify significant trends in the sciences and social sciences
  • Rank top countries, journals, scientists, papers, and institutions by field of research
  • Determine research output and impact in specific fields of research
  • Evaluate potential employees, collaborators, reviewers, and peers

Many journals only have their citations counted by Elsevier or Thomson Reuters. Neither tool is able to produce a complete count of citations. Journal rankings may, therefore, vary significantly between the two tools. You should check all tools and carefully select the measurement you think best represents a journal.

SCImago Journal & Country Rank (SJR )

SCImago's journal rank indicators are similar to the Eigenfactor scores. The major difference is that the SJRs are based on information obtained from Elsevier's Scopus database which includes more than 18,500 titles from 5,000 publishers. SCImago may have better coverage of Humanities & Social Sciences journals.


Journal Analyzer in the Scopus database allows you to compare up to 10 journals in a specific field. The Journal Analyzer is available from the Analytics tab at the top of the screen.


SNIP (Source Normalized Impact per Paper ) uses Scopus data and measures contextual citation impact by weighting citations based on the total number of citations in a subject field.

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