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Evaluating Journals  

Last Updated: Jan 28, 2016 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Evaluating Journals: Resources Print Page


Various methods have been developed to evaluate academic journals and create journal rankings. One gets a picture of how competitive a journal is by looking at the acceptance rate vs the rejection rate. Other widely used methods include examining how often articles are cited in subsequent research to gauge a journal's impact or influence. Citation analyses play an essential role in research evaluation systems, with their results being widely applied as complements to expert review.

The Impact Factors, available in Journal Citation Reports (CSI has no access) and other citation analysis tools serve as indicators of the impact, or influence of a journal.  Though controversial, Impact Factors, which rank journals within a discipline, are extensively used in the sciences. The controversy over journal rankings based on impact factor revolves around the possibility that publishers or authors may manipulate the data to produce a higher impact factor, and that the formula for calculating the impact factor, while it may work well for some disciplines, may be misleading in others. 

The producers of JCR caution users not to depend solely on citation data in journal evaluations. "Citation data are not meant to replace informed peer review. Careful attention should be paid to the many conditions that can influence citation rates..."

This guide introduces you to some of the popular metrics, and related resources to help you evaluate scholarly journals in your discipline of research. Informed and careful use of impact data, and a good understanding of the limitations of the various metrics is essential.


Resources Subscribed by CSI Library



Cabell's Directories of Publishing Opportunities Online

Provides acceptance rate, review process, topic(s) of articles, manuscript guidelines, type of reader, publication and contact information for over 4,000 journals in the following areas: Business: Accounting, Economics & Finance, Management, and Marketing; Education: Educational Curriculum & Methods, Educational Psychology & Administration, Educational Technology & Library Science; Health: Nursing, Health Administration; Psychology: Psychology & Psychiatry; Computer Science: Computer Science and Business Information Systems,  


Ulrichsweb / Global Serials Directory: An easy to search source of detailed information on over 300,000 periodicals of all types: academic/scholarly journals, e-journals, magazines, newspapers, and more. Coverage is international. Ulrichsweb covers more than 900 subject areas. Ulrich's records provide data points such as ISSN, publisher, language, subject, abstracting & indexing coverage, full-text database coverage, tables of contents, and reviews written by librarians. Under "Content Type", you'll find out if the publication is an Academic/Scholarly journal, and under "Key Features", you'll know if the journal is Refereed/


Internet Resources  offers two ways to rank journals: by "Eigenfactor" or by "Article Influence".  You can obtain Eigenfactor Score and Article Influence Score of a particular journal in Journal Citation Reports database, or Search on website. ranks the influence of journals much as Google’s PageRank algorithm ranks the influence of web pages.  The Eigenfactor® score of a journal is an estimate of the percentage of time that library users spend with that journal (see for details). 

SCImago Journal Ranking is a weighted metric, similar to the Eigenfactor Score.  The freely accessible web site contains rankings of more than 20,000 journals from the Scopus database, one of the largest abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature, covering the fields of science, technology, medicine, social sciences and arts & humanities.  The website offers an easy interface for searching and comparing within subject categories.

Google Scholar provides Top 100 Publications by citation count. The Scholar Metrics ranks journals based on an H-Index score. To explore specific research areas, select one of the broad areas on the left colume of the website, click on the "Subcategories" link and then select one of the options (e.g.: Humanities, LIterature and Arts > Subcategories > Drama & Theater Arts).  Google Scholar Metrics  provide an easy way for authors to quickly gauge the visibility and influence of recent articles in scholarly publications, and to help authors as they consider where to publish their research. 


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