Identifying Leading Journals

The first year Doctoral Students recently were invited to a workshop by the UOC Library on how to identify leading journals. As many of us spend most of our days trawling through journal articles, this workshop came at a very good time. This post summarises my takeaways from the workshop. There some basic questions to consider when reviewing a journal:

  • How are the articles peer-reviewed?
  • Which scientific databases is the journal indexed in?
  • What is the impact factor of the journal?
  • What is the SCImago Journal Rank?
  • Are the editor / editorial board respected researchers in the field?
  • What is the access policy of the journal? E.g. open access

Scientific Databases

There are several databases that index research articles and journals. A few are freely available and most require a subscription. Which ones to use depend which field you work in and which ones your institutional library subscribes to. Some of the well-known ones are EBSCOHost, ScienceDirectScopus and Web of Science. For educational related databases there is also EdITLib and ERIC (Educational Resource Information Center).

The Impact Factor

The impact factor is a measure of how often an article in a particular journal has been cited on average. It is usually calculated by # of citations and # of articles published over a 2 year period. There is also a longer 5 year period impact.

SCImago Journal Rank Indicator (SJR)

The SJR measures scientific influence of scholarly journals that accounts for both the number of citations received by a journal and the importance or prestige of the journal. It is usually calculated over a 3 year period and excludes self-citations and assigns a weighting based on prestige. Journals in a field are organized into quartiles, with Q1 and Q2 considered high-impact journals.

Open Access

Open access journals are listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ).

H Index

Another useful index is the H index that attempts to measure both the productivity and citation impact of the published body of work of a scientist. You can see a researcher’s H score in Google Scholar. The H index measures publications and citations.

Thank you to Marie and Neus from the UOC Library for organising the very informative workshop.


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