Skip to main content
Research Guides Databases A-Z Library Catalog Ask a Librarian Library Home Page SUNY New Paltz

Where to Publish: Library Tips & Strategies for Junior Faculty

Journal Evaluation Criteria

Criteria for evaluating journals

  • Prestige of publisher
  • Editorial and peer-review process 
  • Acceptance rate (the number of manuscripts accepted for publication relative to the number of manuscripts submitted within the last year)
  • Authorship (contributing authors, editors, and editorial advisory board members)
  • Accessibility as indicated by circulation figures, as well as in indexing in scholarly databases
  • Influence as measured by JIF or other statistical methods that use citation data to calcuate the scholarly impact of a journal within its field. JIF is not pertinent in many disciplines, especially the arts and humanities, in which the journal articles typically reference non-journal sources.

What's a Journal Impact Factor (JIF)?

The JIF is a statistical measure used to indicate the influence of a journal in a particular field.The annual JIF is a ratio between citations and recent articles published.  The fewer articles a journal publishes, and the more times those articles are cited in the next two years, the higher the journal's "impact."  The JIF is computed annually by the Global Institute for Scientific Information and reported in the JCR database. The Library does not have access to the JCR database.

You can read more about how the JIF is calculated on the Thomson Reuters website, linked below.

There are serious questions concerning the JIF and other statistical measures for journal evaluation.

JIF is one of many statistical measures  developed to measure the quality of journals. While the use of citation data can provide information about the influence of a journal within certain fields, there are serious limitations to the JIF and all other statistical methods.

While some disciplines, consider impact factors as indicators that help them to determine important journals, other fields do not use impact factors. Also there is debate as to the reliability of impact factors

Among the concerns are:

  • the JIF limits coverage to two year window
  • the relationship to self citations and JIF. Journals with lower self citations have lower JIFs. Self citations means the citing paper has one or more authors in common with the cited paper as well as reference to articles published in the same journal in which the citing article is published
  • disciplinary differences: JIF more valuable in sciences than in fields where authors cite books and other non-journal sources

For an introduction to JIF and other statistical measures for citation anaylsis and how they are used to evaluate the importance of a journal in a particular field, see the University of Michigan guide below.

Some Free Sources for Journal Rankings

Below are links to free sources for a variety of journal ranking systems:

The websites of many academic journals  include the journal impact factor or an alternative ranking number

The websites of many publishers include the journal impact factor or an alternative ranking number: