Science & Technology news: Tools for locating highly cited journals

Nov 09, 2016

Several databases are available that describe research journals by how often they are cited within their fields. This information can be very useful in identifying high-profile journals where research can be submitted. Journals within a subject category can be viewed and ranked based on citation data from past years.

The oldest and best known database focusing on citation data at the journal level is Journal Citation Reports (JCR), which reports on Journal Impact Factor (JIF). JIF is calculated based on comparing citations to a journal with the number of articles published in that journal.? Here?s how to find this:

Click JCR and choose Select Categories.?

Scan the long list and select one or more categories of interest. Close the window to save category choices, then scroll down and click Submit.

Journals in the selected categories will appear ranked by Journal Impact Factor.

Keep in mind that different fields can have very different citation rates, due to differing numbers of sources used in the typical article. Compare the differences in overall Journal Impact Factor with when the impact factor is adjusted to exclude journal self cites--citations from a journal to earlier articles in the same journal.

JCR is integrated with Web of Science ? scroll to the bottom of a full record screen in Web of Science to link (under Journal Information) to the impact factor information in Journal Citation Reports. This makes it easy to compare the number of citations for a given article to other articles published in the same journal in the same year.

SCImago allows for location of information on citation rates at the journal level. The data in SCImago is taken from the Scopus database, so you can access it directly or through Scopus. SCImago highlights comparisons of journal within categories, though here the categories have a level that is broad and one that is more narrow. The primary point of comparison here, the SCImago Journal Rank indicator (SJR), is calculated similarly to JIF, but with additional weight given to points such as the level of prestige of each citing journal.?

Google Scholar provides journal comparison information under the Metrics tab. Google Scholar compares journals based on their h-5 index??the largest number h such that h articles published in [the last five complete years] have at least h citations each.?? Like JIF and SCR, the h-5 index varies greatly between fields, so use caution in comparing journals.

So what?s the most highly cited journal of all? That depends on the citation metric used. Currently, JCR?s highest listed JIF is for CA ? A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. SCImago?s SJR gives top honors to Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology. Google Scholar?s h-5 index favors Nature.

Have questions about journal comparisons based on citation rate?? Contact Kris Stacy-Bates?or the subject librarian for your department, or take a look at the Citation Metrics section of the ISU Library?s Cited Reference Searching guide.