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Journal Selection and Metrics

Types of Journal Measures

As an author, journal metrics can indicate which are the most prestigious journals in which to publish. Which journals are the most reputable and far-reaching?  In which journal will your paper have the greatest impact on the field?  Most journal metrics utilize citation counts to "calculate" a journal's quality. Below are several citation-based measures by which journals, articles, and authors are analyzed.

Impact factor

  • The average number of times an article published in a journal will be cited by other articles. This is the most commonly used journal metric. Officially called the Two-year journal impact factor (JIF), this measure eliminates the bias towards older/larger journals.
  • You can often find a journal's impact factor listed on the journal's webpage (check to make sure they are citing the most recent number!)

Used by Scopus

  • CiteScore: CiteScore counts the citations received in 2016-2019 to articles, reviews, conference papers, book chapters and data papers published in 2016-2019, and divides this by the number of publications published in 2016-2019.
  • SJR (SCImago Journal Rank) indicator: Like the article influence score, the SJR is calculated using weighted citations. However, it is measured over a three-year range. For information on how this number is calculated, click here
  • SNIP (Source Normalized Impact per Paper):  Aims to allow for comparison of journals in different fields by measuring a journal's impact using field-weight citations (based on the total number of citations in a subject area).

Used by Google Scholar

  • h5-index is the h-index for articles published in the last 5 complete years. It is the largest number h such that h articles published in 2009-2013 have at least h citations each.
  • h5-median for a publication is the median number of citations for the articles that make up its h5-index.

Less commonly used measures

  1. Five-year impact factor: Averages citations over a large span of years. It compares the number of citations received in a year (e.g., 2014) by articles published in a journal during the five years prior (e.g., 2009-2013) to the total number of articles published in that journal from 2009 to 2013. The five-year span helps to account for differences between subject areas (publication within certain subject areas is more slow-moving, so articles take longer to accumulate citations).
  2. Article Influence (AI) score: Measures the influence of an average article within a journal. The article influence score is generated by dividing the Eigenfactor by the number of articles published in the journal. 
  3. Cited half-life: Measures for how long articles continue to be cited after publication. This measurement is very much dependent on subject and type of journal and is therefore not always a reliable comparison.
  4. Eigenfactor: Aims to measure the influence of journal within scholarly literature. Instead of counting each citation equally, the Eigenfactor uses weighted citations. Citations are weighted differently depending on the influence of the citing journal. The Eigenfactor does not count self-citations (citations from within the same journal).
  5. Immediacy Index: Compares the number of citations a journal receives in a year to the number of articles published in that year. Essentially, this measures how quickly a journal accrues citations. 
  6. Total citations: The total number of citations received by a journal within a publication year. Older and larger journals will have higher citations because they have higher numbers of previously published articles to be cited.

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