How To Find Impact Factors of Journals
There are many excellent reasons why knowing how to find the impact factors of journals is essential for academics and scientists who publish their research. The Journal Impact Factors provided each year by Journal Citation Reports have become an authoritative measure of the influence and importance of a scholarly journal within its field. Impact factors can help researchers choose the journals that will prove the most useful resources as they conduct their research and ultimately the perfect publishing venues when the time comes to disseminate the findings of that research.
Before tackling how to find impact factors of journals, it is helpful to know exactly what impact factors are. The Journal Impact Factor (JIF) for a publication included in Journal Citation Reports (JCR) is calculated for each year based on all the citations made in that year to the research articles and other citable items published by the journal in the two preceding years. For example, the 2018 impact factor for a journal would be calculated from all the citations made during 2018 to the items in the 2016 and 2017 issues of the journal. The 2018 impact factors are then made available in 2019 in two different editions: a Science Edition and a Social Sciences Edition, each of them containing thousands of journals organised into subject categories.
How To Find Impact Factors of Journals in the Sciences & Social Sciences
The researcher who is exploring scholarly journals for research resources or publication venues might encounter the impact factor of a specific journal on the journal’s own website. Reputable peer-reviewed journals will certainly display accurate impact factors on their websites, and some such as Elsevier and Springer that publish many journals will even post lists of current impact factors for their publications, especially for highly rated journals. A simple search for ‘Elsevier impact factors’ or something similar using the name of whatever publisher interests you will get you started. In some cases other measures of influence will also be listed, so to find the JCR impact factors it is necessary to look specifically for the Journal Impact Factor or the abbreviation JIF. Although there are other citation and impact metrics that are entirely reputable and helpful – the SCImago Journal Rank or SJR is an example – predatory publishers have been known to exaggerate the impact of their journals. Research into fake metrics has also suggested that the Global Impact Factor (GIF), Universal Impact Factor (UIF) and CiteFactor are often used by predatory publishers, so how to find impact factors of journals should always include using the information provided on a journal’s own website with caution.
To be absolutely certain that you discover reliable JCR impact factors for scholarly journals it is necessary to go to the JCR dedicated website, which is not open access. However, most research institutions have subscriptions to JCR, so accessing the site is usually relatively straightforward through university libraries. From the JCR landing page navigate to the Browse by Journal home page and begin typing the journal’s title into the Go to Journal Profile search box at the top left. The defaults here are set for the most recent JCR year and both the Science and Social Sciences editions, but the options to the left can be used to change these and qualify the search in other ways as well. As the title is typed in, titles in the JCR database that match your search will be displayed. Click on the title you are seeking to select it and go to that journal’s JCR profile page, where a wide variety of information about the journal, its publisher, its subject categories and its citation metrics is available.
On the journal’s profile page, the JIF for the journal that applies to the current (most recent) year is provided along with the JIF calculation, a JIF trend graph, a citation distribution graph and a list of the items contributing to that year’s JIF. Clicking All Years instead of Current Year above the graphs will open a version of the journal’s profile page that contains metrics for all the years the journal has been included in JCR. The Key Indicators chart for all years lists the JIF for each year in its third column (read from left to right), allowing comparison over time. Other columns in the chart record the total number of citations for each year, 5 Year Impact Factors, the Immediacy Index for citations made in the year of publication, Eigenfactor Scores and more. Visualisation of the data presented in each column can be accessed by clicking the word ‘Graph’ under the column heading, whereas clicking on highlighted values within the chart will reveal the data from which that particular metric was calculated for the year.
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