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Measuring Research Impact and Quality

Journal evaluation tool

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 that meet Clarivate Analytics' standards for inclusion in the Web of Science Core Collection are assigned impact factors. Web of Science Master Journal List

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.

Journal Citation Indicator

Definition:   The Journal Citation Indicator "represents the relative citation impact of a given paper as the ratio of citations compared to a global baseline. A value of 1.0 represents world average, with values higher than 1.0 denoting higher-than-average citation impact (2.0 being twice the average) and lower than 1.0 indicating less than average" . (Introducing the Journal Citation Indicator, May, 2021)

The Journal Citation Indicator calculation controls for different fields, document types (articles, reviews, etc.) and year of publication. It is calculated for all journals indexed in the Web of Science Core Collection using the most current three years of data.. This metric is similar to the SNIP (Source Normalized Impact Per Paper) metric.

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European Reference Index for the Humanities and the Social Sciences (ERIH Plus)

Definition:  Journals indexed by ERIH Plus must meet specific criteria for inclusion.

Available from: ERIH PLus--European Reference Index for the Humanities and Social Sciences


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

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Further information: Eigenfactor: Detailed Methods (2007)

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.

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SJR (Scimago Journal and Country Rank)

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

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Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP)

Definition:  A metric that accounts for field-specific differences in citation practices.  It enables direct comparison of journals in different subject fields.  Additional information from Leiden University.

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Definition:  The h-index of a publication is the largest number h such that at least h articles in that publication were cited at least h times each. For example, a journal with a h-index of 20 has published 20 articles that have been cited 20 or more times.

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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

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Journal rankings by discipline