Skip to Main Content
Banner Image Main site Library home page Library home page

Citation Analysis: Journal Rankings

Journal quality and ranking:

Refers to the evaluation of an academic journal's impact and quality. Journal rankings are intended to reflect the place of a journal within its field, the relative difficulty of being published in that journal, and the prestige associated with it. Journal rank is a quantitative measure of the frequency with which the 'average article' in a journal has been cited in a particular year or period.
Three alternative approaches that identify journal rankings by citation impact (free tools)
SNIP (Source Normalised Impact per Paper) Normalises for subject differences to contextualise the number of citations in a given field. For more details see here.
IPP (Impact per Publication)     This score measures the ratio of citations per article in a given journal.
SJR (SCImago Journal Rank)  SJR not only accounts for the number of citations received by a journal, but also differentiates between the quality (importance/prestige) of the journals where citations come from. For more details see here.
Source: Journal Metrics applies to 20,000 journals, proceedings and book series.

Alternative journal and publisher lists/rankings:
Online tutorials:
  1. Metrics explained: The Impact Factor and Other Bibliometric Factors (covers JIF, SNIP, SJR, Eigenfactor and h-Index)
  2. Metrics explained: MyIR Measuring your Research Impact (see module 3 'Journal ranking and analysis')
Factors that influence which journal you might want to publish in include:
  • Discipline relevance and reaching the desired target audience.
  • Journal quality or impact, often determined through the use of metrics.
  • Prestige of the editorial team, contributors and journal circulation.
A note on impact factors!
There is some debate about the validity of the impact factor which many argue has a distorting influence on science. JIF is also arguably less important as article level metrics become more prominent, partly as a result of scholarly communication moving increasingly online to an Open Access model (Antelman, 2004). Journal Impact Factors (JIFs) are not always appropriate measures in research funding, hiring and promotion decisions. Instead, the focus should be on the content (quality) of primary research papers, regardless of publication venue (check out DORA for more on this).
The library does not subscribe to Journal Citation Reports (JCR) - the primary journal ranking tool - at present:
JCR is a Web of Science database from Thomson Reuters. JCRs rank journals by the Journal Impact Factor (JIF). This is a popular way of identifying the most highly cited journals in a given field. The JIF is derived from the average number of citations to articles in the journal over the preceding two years (Thomson Reuters, 1994). The JCR is available in Science and Social Science disciplines.