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What are journal metrics?

  • Journal metrics measure, compare, and often rank research and scholarly journal publications.
  • Journal-level metrics are usually based on the collective citation count of papers within a published journal. There a different types of metrics, each calculates and quantifies citation counts differently, across different date ranges. The table below provides an overview of several common journal-level metrics and where you can find them.
  • Authors may use journal metrics to identify journals in which to publish. A high ranking journal could have 
  • The best means of judging a journal based on the impact factor is noting the comparative score of the journal with others in the same field.

Key phrases

  • Metrics - Calculation usually based on citation counts in a journal over a certain time period. Each uses different data and calculation methods. Open the tab "Common journal level metrics" for a list with description and access links.
  • Normalised - A corrective metric to account for difference in citation potential in different fields. Allows for direct comparison across different disciplines
  • Ranking - lists created from journal metrics to help measure the relative prestige of a journal within a particular field.
    • Usually the higher metric score the higher the amount of citations a journal has received in a given time period.
    • Quartile: ranks journals from highest to lowest based on the impact factor score; Q1, Q2, Q3, and Q4 - where Q1 represents the top 25% of journals in a particular category.
    • Percentile: transforms ranking into percentile; 98% means the journal is in the top 2% of its subject field; allows more meaningful cross-discipline comparison.

Considerations and limitations

  • There are wide variations between the citation patterns across different research fields. The best means of judging a journal based on the impact factor is by comparing journal metric scores within the same discipline. 
  • Each type of journal metrics has limitations. Use 2-3 different metrics to make sure that you get an overall view.
  • Journal metrics are a reflective score. Be aware that previous journal performance may not reflect future citation counts.
  • Journals with very high impact factor may include some papers that are never cited.
  • The journal subject field is an important factor factor when deciding where to publish. A journal with a low impact score but that is highly relevant to your research field may reach a wider audience than a journal with high impact score but a less relevant field.
Metric How it is calculated and use  Where to find it

Journal Impact Factor (JIF)

 

 

  • The number of citations divided by the number of published items in a journal
  • 2 year period
  • Use only when comparing journals within the same discipline
Journal Citation Reports (MH does not subscribe to this database)*

Source-normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP)                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                                                  

  • The number of citations within a journal based on citation potential within journal subject area.
  • 3 year period
  • >1 is above average
  • Normalised metric - Can use when comparing journals across different disciplines

Scopus Preview (free version of Scopus)

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 
  • Average number of weighted citations received in a year divided by number of documents published in previous 3 years
  • 4 year period
  • >1 is above average
  • Normalised metric - Can use when comparing journals across different disciplines

Scimago

Scopus Preview 

CiteScore
  • The number of citations received by a journal in one year to documents published in the three previous years, divided by the number of total documents in Scopus published in those same three years
  • 4 year period
  • Use only when comparing journals within the same discipline
Scopus Preview
Eigenfactor (EF)
  • The number of citations Journal Citation Reports (JCR), but also evaluating the influence of the journals where those citing articles are being published
  • 5 year period
  • >1 is above average
Eigenfactor.org
Journal Citation Indicator (JCI)
  • 3 year period
  • >1 is above average
  • Normalised metric - Can use when comparing journals across different disciplines
Journal Citation Reports (MH does not subscribe to this database)*
h-index
(Hirsch index)
  • Representative of the average paper published in a given journal, a journal with a h-index of 20 has published 20 articles that have been cited 20 or more times.
  • No date range
  • Use only when comparing journals within the same discipline
Scimago
Google Scholar Metrics
  • Uses h5-index and h5-median
  • 5 year period - Only top 20 journals displayed
  • Use only when comparing journals within the same discipline
Google Scholar Metrics

*Note: Researchers affiliated with a university may have access to subscription databases such as Journal Citation Reports.

 

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