Journal impact

Knowing the impact and importance of a journal can help you decide where to submit your articles. With bibliometric databases you can compare and evaluate journals, see the most productive research areas, download data, follow journals, and create robust data visualizations.

The established source for journal rankings is Journal Citation Reports (JCR), though Scopus and Google Scholar also provide journal metrics.

Journal impact factor

The journal impact factor measures the importance of a journal by calculating the times its articles are cited. It is calculated by the total number of publications in a journal and the total number of citations to those publications over a two-year period. For example, a journal that had 100 publications in two years and received 5,000 citations the following year would have an impact factor of 50.

Consider the limitations of using impact factors to evaluate a journal:

  • Using only this factor is not sufficient.
  • You must compare journal values within the same discipline because impact factors vary among disciplines.
  • The impact factor is designed to show the impact of a specific journal, not a scholar.

Journal Citation Reports (JCR)

Search JCR

JCR is part of Web of Science and covers 12,000 scholarly and technical journals and conference proceedings from more than 3,000 publishers in science, social sciences, arts, and humanities.

JCR allows you to:

  • Research journal impact by subject categories
  • Compare journals with custom indicators
  • Identify trends in journals and among journals


Search Scopus

Scopus uses three years of data instead of the traditional two to calculate monthly CiteScores in the areas of science, technology, medicine, arts, and humanity. The CiteTracker feature allows the forecasting of future annual journal impact. You can also research journal percentile rankings, performance across fields, and analyze journals across multiple metrics.

Scopus uses the SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) and Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP), too.

The SJR uses multiple metrics instead of just one to calculate a score. Citations are weighted depending on the source, taking into account quality and reputation.

On the other hand, SNIP considers differences in citation practices among fields. According to Scopus, this measure allows for more accurate comparisons of citation impact.

Google Scholar

Google Scholar Metrics allows you to easily browse journals ranked by three metrics:  h-index, h-core, and h-median.  The h-core is a set of top-cited articles calculated using the h-index. The h-median is the median of the citation counts from the h-core.

Google Scholar allows you to browse through most popular journals across many languages and disciplines. It covers the STEM fields along with business, humanities, arts, and social sciences. It also includes classic and historically highly-cited papers in specific areas.