Journal impact factor

A journal’s impact factor is determined by the average number of citations received in a year by articles published in the journal in the previous two years. If a journal has an impact factor of 2 in 2015, it means that on average papers in this journal received 2 citations in 2014, 2013. It is used as an indicator of quality as a journal with a high impact factor is considered better than those with a low impact factor. The impact factor is used to compare different journals within a certain field. However, its use is not without controversy and it should be taken as an indication only. This video provides a short overview of how the JCR should be used.

Journal Citation Reports  (JCR)

This is a database that allows the user to identify the impact factor of a particular journal. Initially the user must choose between the Sciences or the Social Sciences and then select by Subject Category, Publisher or Country/Territory. Entering the name of the journal into the search box brings up the journal’s details. This video provides a short overview of how to use the JCR.

There are other free sources of information in this area

  • SCImago uses the Google PageRank algorithm (as an indicator of the journal’s influence) to rank journals in order of importance.
  • The Australia ERA Journal List  is produced by the Australian Research Council based on submissions from individual researchers and major research bodies. The journals have been ranked in discipline specific tiers of A*, A, B, C. Getting published in an A* or A ranked journal is considered to be an indicator of quality/impact for the Australian Research Assessment Exercise.
  • European Research Index for the Humanities 



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