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Impact Measures (Journals and Authors) & Where to Publish  

Last Updated: Jan 20, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates
Research Impact Print Page

Journal Rankings

There are different metrics that can be used to rank journals.  One widely used is the Impact Factor that measures the frequency with which the average article in a journal has been cited in a particular year. 

For most metrics, an individual measure doesn't mean much, but can be used in comparison.

  • Journal Citation Reports (JCR)
    Shows many journal metrics, including impact factor for leading journals in the sciences and social sciences.
  • Help with Journal Citation Reports (Thomson Reuters)
    Links to recorded tutorials and quick fact card (several languages).
  • H-Index of a Journal, Web of Science
    Search with the Publication Name, determine your date range, and then from the results screen click on the "Create Citation Report" link.
  • SCImago Journal & Country Rank
    Journals in arts, humanities, sciences, and social sciences. A free source that includes journal indicators developed from the information contained in the Scopus database.  It does not include journal impact factors but does have a number of other indicators. Journals may be ranked by major subject areas, more specific subject categories, SJR, h-index, etc.

Where to Publish

Want to expand your list of possibilities?  Ulrich's is a great place to look or there may be directories for journals in specific fields.

  • Cabell's Directories of Publishing Opportunities in...
    Find acceptance rates, manuscript specifications, review process information in the fields of:

    Business (Accounting, Economics & Finance, Management, Marketing)

    Computer Science – Business Information Systems

    Education (Educational Curriculum & Methods, Educational Psychology & Administration, Educational Technology & Library Science)

    Psychology & Psychiatry

    Nursing and Health Administration
  • UlrichsWeb: Global Serials Directory
    Doesn't have rankings, but will link to JCR. Can find out if a journal is peer reviewed and if it is indexed.

    Use Advanced Search > Subject (Exact) to search by discipline/sub-discipline.

    If reviewed in "Magazines for Libraries" you can read the description.
  • Journal Finder - beta tool from Elsevier
    Click on the 'Start matching' button to find a suitable (Elsevier) journal based on the abstract of your article.
  • Search Article Databases
    Where are others publishing articles similar to yours? Search the library article databases or Google Scholar to discover journals.

Alternative Metrics

  • Altmetrics Tools
    Uses data from the social web to create different measures of impact.
  • Scholarometer
    A browser extension that provides a smart interface for Google Scholar to facilitate citation analysis and help evaluate the impact of an author's publications.

H-Index for an Author

The h-index is an index that attempts to measure both productivity and impact. The index is based on a set of  most cited papers (from an author or it can be calculated for a journal) and the number of citations that those publications have received in other people's publications.

  • Web of Science
    > Enter the name of the author in the top search box (e.g. Smith JT).   Select Author from the drop-down menu on the right.
    > To ensure accuracy for popular names, make use of the "Address" or "Organization Enhanced" field.
    >Click on Search
    >Click on Citation Report on the right hand corner of the results page, the H-index is on the right of the screen
  • Help with Citation Reporting and H-Index (Thomson Reuters)

Determining Times Cited

Find out who has cited a known author or work (article, book, conference proceeding, patent, etc). 

  • Google Scholar  
    Search for the item (article, patent, document, etc) then click on the "Cited by" link. If you connect from the library's database listing for Google Scholar it also shows cited numbers from Web of Science.
  • Help with Cited Searching with Google Scholar
    View this brief tutorial from USC's School of Medicine Library.
  • Web of Science
    Do a Cited Reference search. You can do one for multiple publications by an author or for a single work.

    Looking for citations in journal articles to a patent? Enter the patent number in the Cited Work field. If you do not know the patent number, try entering the name of the first listed inventor or patent assignee in the Cited Author field.

    You can also create an account and receive alerts whenever any of your publications within Web of Science are cited.
  • Help with Cited Reference Searching in Web of Science (Thomson Reuters)
  • US Patent Full-Text Database - Find Patents Citing Patents
    begin by finding the record for your patent. Then, follow the link to "Referenced by." Alternatively, you can enter the US patent number for your patent and select "referenced by" in the pull-down menu.
  • European Patent Office - Find Patents Citing Patents
    Begin by finding the record for your patent. You can then follow the link to "View list of citing documents."

More on Impact Factors

Metrics of any kind can be controversial.  If you'd like to read more about the issues here are some starting points.


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