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Bibliometrics and Altmetrics: Journal-Level Metrics

A guide to research metrics, which are used to evaluate the amount of attention an author, article, or journal receives via citations and online

The h-index/h-3/h-5 index

The h-index was proposed by Jorge E. Hirsch, a physicist at UC San Diego, in 2005. It means that the journal has published at least h papers that have each received at least h citations. The h-3 or h-5 index measures the h-index over the last three or five years.

Uses

  • Identify highly cited journals

Concerns

  • Disparities between disciplines
  • Biased against newer journals, journals that are issued less frequently, and journals on narrow topics
  • Some types of articles (e.g. literature reviews) tend to be more highly cited, so journals publishing a lot of them have an advantage
  • Easy to manipulate
  • Citations do not measure quality

Tools

The JCR Impact Factor

The Journal Citation Reports (JCR) Impact Factor is a Clarivate Analytics proprietary bibliometric measure. It measures the ratio of citations in the past two years to scholarly items (articles, reviews, and proceedings) published in the past two years.

Uses

  • Identify highly cited journals

Concerns

  • Proprietary to Clarivate Analytics
  • Not all journals are included
  • Disparities between disciplines
  • Biased against journals in languages other than English and against journals not published in the U.S.
  • Citations do not measure quality

Tools

  • Journal websites frequently advertise their impact factor

 

Scimago Journal Rank

The Scimago Journal Rank is an Elsevier proprietary bibliometric measure. It is based on average citations per paper in the last three years, but with citations from more prestigious journals given more weight.

Uses

  • Identify highly cited journals

Concerns

  • Proprietary to Elsevier
  • Not all journals are included
  • Disparities between disciplines
  • Biased against journals in languages other than English and against journals not published in the U.S.
  • Citations do not measure quality

Tools

Choosing a Journal