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Scholarly Communication: Journal Metrics

A guide to issues in scholarly communication, including publishing, open access, copyright, and author rights.


Publication metrics are measures of productivity, quality, and impact/influence of published works, based on factors like publication data, citation rates, and social media activity. This section provides information on the different types of tools used to evaluate and locate scholarly metrics. 

Note: No single tool captures the full impact of an article, publication, or researcher. Impact is affected by multiple metrics which all carry different levels of importance according to individual scholarly fields. Tools for determining impact in one discipline may not apply or be relevant in other disciplines. 

Author Impact

Web of Science

Enter Last Name, First Name, select Author in the dropdown box and search. At results screen, click on author name. Includes citation searching (how many times a paper has been cited from Web of Science). 

Pros: provides list of citing publications (with and without self-citations), total number of citations, average number of citations per article, and researchers h-index.  You can build a citation report with information. Includes author h-index.

Cons: focus is limited to sciences, English language materials, and other scholarly works (non-articles) are not included. 

Google Scholar

Enter the author's name in the appropriate field, and click search. In the search results, locate the Cited By number beneath each citation. Includes author h-index.

Pros: broader in scope (includes books, chapters, posters, abstracts, etc.), includes scholarly content from institutional repositories and publicly available open access journals, includes non-English publications.

Cons: citations may be inaccurate (may count promotional pages, course readings), unable to eliminate self-citations, limited search features.

Journal Impact

Journal Citation Reports

Provides information about academic journals in the natural sciences and social sciences, including impact factors. Allows evaluation and comparison of journals using citation data from over 11,000 scholarly and technical journals. Search impact factor by category, journal or ISSN. (Available through Web of Science database). 

Scopus CiteScore 

Comprehensive, transparent, current and free metrics for journal titles in Scopus. Based on average citations received per document, using a 3-year window. Includes CiteScore, relative standing of journal in its subject field (percentile) and rank, citations, documents published, and percent cited. 

SCImago Journal & Country Rank 

The SCImago Journal & Country Rank is a portal that includes the journals and country scientific indicators developed from the information contained in the Scopus database.

Eigenfactor Score 

Included in Journal Citation Reports, looks at the number of times articles from the journal published in the past five years have been cited. Citations from highly ranked journals are assigned more weight. 



This section is adapted from Howard-Tilton Memorial Library's Scholarly Impact Research Guide, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

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