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Where to publish your research article: Journal metrics

Information and resources to help you make important decisions about where to publish your research.

What are journal metrics?

Journal metrics provide a quantitative method for evaluating the quality of journals and is based on bibliometric citation analysis, where the popularity of a journal is reflected by the number of citations related to the "average article" in the journal.

Various citation indicators have been developed to reflect perceived quality. Each of these metrics has its own particular features, but in general, they all aim to provide rankings and insight into journal performance based on citation analysis.

This is based on the premise that a citation to a paper is a form of endorsement. The number of citations which a particular paper attracts is therefore regarded as an indication of its "importance".

Keep in mind that different journal metrics use different methodologies and data sources, thus offering different perspectives on the scholarly publishing landscape, and bibliometricians use different metrics depending on what features they wish to study.

Data sources for citation analysis

The three main sources which exist for citation analysis are:

 Thomson Reuters’ Web of Science

  • Web of Science, established in 1960, is an online citation index provided by Thomson Reuters (previously ISI)
  • Covers more than 13,000 journals and dates back to 1900
  • Only approx. 3,000 journals in Social Science and Humanities

Elsevier’s Scopus

  • Scopus was established in 2004 with the aim of being the most comprehensive STM and Social Science abstract and citation database
  • Covers 19,400 journals and dates back to 1996
  • Much larger coverage of Social Sciences and Humanities

Google Scholar

  • Google Scholar was established in 2004. 
  • List of sources is not provided but generally broader than Web of Science and Scopus
  • Good foreign coverage

Journal ranking lists

Journal Citation Reports (JCR) rank journals based on citation data. JCR Science edition provides impact factors for over 7,300 journals in science and technology. JCR Social Science edition provides impact factors for over 2,200 journals in the social sciences.

Scopus Journal Analyzer also ranks journals based on citation data. Scopus indexes more than 17,000 journals across most disciplines.