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FAQs: How do I find the impact factor for a journal?

What is a journal impact figure?

The impact factor is a measure normally based on the frequency with which the average article in a journal has been cited in a particular year. It is used to help scholars decide on the best journals in which to publish their work, and to help readers and researchers discern the relative importance of journals within their fields. 

How can I find an impact factor for a journal?

Unfortunately, WKU Libraries does not currently have access to Journal Citation Reports, the best-known source for journal impact factors. Impact factors for some journals may, however, be found through WKU Libraries in Cabell's Directoryparticularly for those journals related to business, education, nursing, and computer science. 

There are also several other sources of impact factors, mostly available free of charge. Here are a few of the most popular:

The Eigenfactor score, developed by Jevin West and Carl Bergstrom at the University of Washington, is a rating of the total importance of a scientific journal based on the number of citations, weighted by the ranking of the citing journal. Many scholars regard it as a more robust measurement than those provided by Journal Citation Reports. The Eigenfactor website allows you to search by journal title, category, and year.

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR indicator)

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR indicator) is a free online resource providing 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. SJR Indicator’s database of journal rankings is searchable by topic, journal title, and country of publication.

Google Scholar Metrics

Google Scholar Metrics provide an easy way for authors to quickly gauge the visibility and influence of recent articles in scholarly publications. To access, go to the Google Scholar page and click the “Metrics” link at the top of the page. Google Scholar provides the following metrics:

  • 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 publication with five articles cited by, respectively, 17, 9, 6, 3, and 2, has the h-index of 3.
  • The h-core of a publication is a set of top cited h articles from the publication. These are the articles that the h-index is based on. For example, the publication above has the h-core with three articles, those cited by 17, 9, and 6.
  • The h-median of a publication is the median of the citation counts in its h-core. For example, the h-median of the publication above is 9. The h-median is a measure of the distribution of citations to the articles in the h-core.
  • Finally, the h5-index, h5-core, and h5-median of a publication are, respectively, the h-index, h-core, and h-median of only those of its articles that were published in the last five complete calendar years.

Microsoft Academic Research

Not to be outdone, Microsoft created Academic Research in response to Google Scholar, and has added a journal ranking system based on the number of times a journal has been cited in the last 5 or 10 years. 

Cabell's Directories of Publishing Opportunities

Cabell's is a database offering useful descriptions of the leading journals in a number of specific fields, such as business and eduction. Most of the journal descriptions in Cabell's include the impact factors from Journal Citation Reports. WKU provides access to a number of the modules available through Cabell's, though not all. Check the Cabell's database to see if it covers topics in your field. 


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