Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Research Metrics

This guide will help you understand research metrics about authors, articles/books, and journals.

Journal-level Metrics

These metrics consider the journal. What journal characteristics inform our judgment of its quality? How many times are articles in the journal cited, on average? How well does the journal perform against other journals in the discipline?

This table offers an overview and comparison of journal metrics. Prestige, influence, and rigor are concepts from one framework for evaluating journals. Normalized metrics allow comparison across disciplines, and weighted metrics allow certain citations to count more than others. Web of Science (from the company Clarivate Analytics) and Scopus (from the publisher Elsevier) are the two main citation databases used to calculate impact metrics. 

NOTE: If you are including citation-based metrics in a rank and status portfolio, consider using the metrics for the year your article was published. This will provide a relevant snapshot of the journal, as these numbers fluctuate. 

Use Influence Metrics With Caution

Influence metrics are problematic for several reasons, including:

  • They can be manipulated. Editors or publishers can make changes to their publications (i.e., publish more review articles) that result in a higher metric.  
  • A high influence metric for a publication doesn't mean that every article in that publication is of high caliber. 
  • They are data dependent. Journal Citation Reports uses the selective Web of Science database, whereas Scopus and Scimago metrics are based on citations from the Scopus database. 
  • Citation rates vary across disciplines. Oncology medicine, for example, has more citations that show up faster than a less popular or urgent field of study. 

"Predatory" Journals

Some open access journals and publishers attempt to take advantage of academics who need to publish. They profit from author fees without providing quality peer review and/or other editorial services typical of scholarly journals. These journals have been termed "predatory." 

Jeffery Beall, an academic librarian who has since retired, began a list of potential predatory journals and publishers in 2008. Though his list was controversial and taken down in 2017, others have continued his work.

For more on the history of Beall's list, try these resources: