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Measuring Research Impact and Quality

Journal impact factor (JIF)

Definition: A measure of the frequency with which the "average article" in a journal has been cited in a particular year or period. Clarivate Analytics

Calculation for a journal's  2017 journal impact factor:

 Available from:

Caveat:  Only journals in the sciences and social sciences that meet Clarivate Analytics' standards for inclusion in the Web of Science Core Collection are assigned impact factors.  Impact factors are not computed for journals in the humanities.

Ongoing Debate:  Currently impact factors are the most widely known way to rank journals, however, they are controversial.  Some people believe that impact factors do not accurately reflect the impact of a journal or article. 
(Hate journal impact factors? New study gives you one more reason, Science July 6, 2016)


Definition: CiteScore is the number of citations received by a journal in one year to documents published in the three previous years, divided by the number of documents indexed in Scopus published in those same three years. Scopus

Available from: Scopus Journal Metrics

  • CiteScores are computed for all journals indexed by Scopus  (over 24,000 titles).
  • CiteScores are computed for journals in all disciplines including the humanities.


Definition: Ranking based on incoming citations for a journal with more weight given to citations from significant and larger journals

Available from:

Further information: Eigenfactor: Detailed Methods (2007)

European Reference Index for the Humanities (ERIH Plus)

Definition:  Journals are classified into two main categories (NAT and INT) and two sub-categories (INT1 and INT2) based on their audience, distribution and reach.

Available from: The European Science Foundation

Article influence

Definition:  A measure of the average influence of each of a journals' articles over the first five years after publication. 

  • It is the journal's Eigenfactor score divided by the fraction of articles published by the journal.That fraction is normalized so that the sum total of articles from all journals is 1.
  • The mean Article Influence score is 1.00. A score greater than 1.00 indicates that each article in the journal has above-average influence. A score less than 1.00 indicates that each article in the journal has below-average influence.

Available from:


Definition:  A measure of scientific influence of scholarly journals that accounts for both the number of citations received by a journal and the importance or prestige of the journals where such citations come from.  Factors considered for SJR journal rankings include:

  • H-index
  • Total cites per journal
  • Total of published documents per journal
  • Cites per document

Available from: SJR

Mathematical Citation Quotient (MCQ)

Definition:  Mathematical Citation Quotient (MCQ) for a given year is defined as the number of times the items published in the journal in the previous five years were cited by items in reference lists of journals published in the given year, divided by the number of articles the journal published in that same five-year period. 

  • The MCQ is only computed for journals indexed by MathSciNet

Available from:

Journal rankings by discipline