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Scholarly Publishing Guide

This guide will help you evaluate and select journals, avoid predatory publishers, negotiate publishing contracts, understand mandates for sharing your publication, and reuse your own work appropriately.


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Erin Owens
NGL 223D
ORCID: 0000-0001-9520-9314

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Understanding Citation-Based Journal Metrics

The tools below can help you compare quantitative, citation-based metrics for journals to which you are considering sending a manuscript. ​

You may also want to look for journal rankings created by university departments or professional organizations in your field (tip: try Googling something like journal rankings in [field]). These may be tricky to find or may not exist at all, but they can be useful if your field is not well covered in popular tools, or if you believe these tools do not fairly and accurately represent your field.

Note that citation-based metrics can be useful for specific purposes, but they should not be used as a proxy measure for an individual article or individual researcher, nor do they represent the actual "quality" of a journal.

Journal Impact Factor (Clarivate Web of Science)

Data Source: Clarivate's Web of Science database

Availability: Found through JCR: Journal Citation Reports from the SHSU Library

What It Is: Ratio comparing number of citations a journal received to the total number of “citable items” in that journal; default covers 2 years, 5-year also available.

Tip for Searching: Be PRECISE, e.g., & versus and; try variations or search by Title Word instead of Full Journal Title.

What It Does Measure:

  • Influence of a journal on other scholarly journals in terms of citation.
  • Comparison of journals within a field.

What It Does Not Measure:

  • Citations outside of the Web of Science database.
  • Objective quality of a journal.
  • Comparison of journals in different fields. 
  • Any aspect of an individual article or researcher.
  • Influence of a journal on policy, practice, or the public.

Criticisms and Limitations to be Aware of: 


See also Eigenfactor (gives different weight to individual citations, e.g., "not all citations are created equal")


CiteScore (Elsevier Scopus)


Data source: Elsevier's Scopus database

Availability: Freely available (even though SHSU does not subscribe to Scopus)

What It Is: Citation-based ratio similar to Impact Factor, but some journals may have a CiteScore and not an Impact Factor

  1. CiteScore: Ratio: number of citations journal receives in one year to documents published in the previous three years, divided by the number of documents indexed in Scopus published in the same three years. Considers "documents" beyond just journal articles, such as editorials, books, conference proceedings, etc.
  2. Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP): measures contextual citation impact by weighting citations based on the total number of citations in a subject field.
  3. Impact per Publication (IPP): ratio of citations per article published in the journal.

For additional graphs and details, see also:

More Resources for Evaluation at the Journal Level

  • Find the h5-index for a particular journal.
  • Browse a subject area (and sub-category, if available) for top journals in rank order
  • Does not comprehensively cover all journals


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