Answered By: Ask a Librarian
Last Updated: Feb 27, 2018    

You can use a few indicators to evaluate the quality and impact of a scholarly journal, such as impact factor (IF), rank, quartile, etc. As for the tool, the most commonly used tool for this is Journal Citation Reports (JCR). You may search for the journal by title in JCR, or browse journal lists.

In JCR, there are several useful indicators:

a) Journal impact factor (IF) – all citations to the journal in the current JCR year to items published in the previous two years

The higher the IF is, the better the quality of the journal. The IF of scientific journals are usually higher than that of social science journals.

b) 5-year impact factor – average no. of times articles from the journal published in the past five years have been cited in the JCR year

c) Rank – the rank of the journal in the subject category

d) Quartile – Z = Rank in the category/No. of journals in the category

  • Q1: 0.0 < Z ≤ 0.25 (Q1 journals are of the best quality and highest impact)
  • Q2: 0.25 < Z ≤ 0.5
  • Q3: 0.5 < Z ≤ 0.75
  • Q4: 0.75 < Z



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