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Research Impact: Journal impact

Making an impact and measuring the impact of your research

Journal Ranking tools

There are various journal ranking tools available to help you think about which journal is 'best' for your article. They include:

Journal Citation Reports via Web of Science

  • 2 year and 5 year Journal Impact Factors

  • Immediacy Index number

  • Cited-half life

  • Eigenfactor

Scopus Journal Analyser (click on Compare journals)

  • SJR - SCImago Journal Rank Indicator

  • SNIP - Source Normalized Impact per Paper

 Incites (ask for more info via the Research Office)

(you may also have heard of Essential Science Indicators and/or SciVal but these are not currently available at Newcastle University).

Other journal ranking companies

In recent years, other journal ranking companies have emerged. Use these with care.

For a list of some of the companies and for more information try Scholarly Open Access blog which also lists companies offering possible misleading metrics.

Journal Impact Factors

Use impact factors to:

  • Measure the impact of a journal on the research community
  • Identify the relative importance of a journal
  • Measure the quality of research output of an institution (RAE/REF)

Limitations of the JCR

  • Only covers journals indexed in the Web of Science
  • Known subject weaknesses e.g. engineering
  • US bias
  • May not cover new or niche subject areas
  • New / changed titles will not be covered for 2-3 years

More information about the JCR.

How to find an impact factor

Go to the Web of Science and select JCR from the top of the page.

Information and training videos on using JCR available online.


Free web-based service

Also part of JCR (uses Web of Science data).

A single citation from a high quality journal may hold more value than multiple citations from peripheral journals.

The Eigenfactor of a journal is based on the citations it receives from other journals, where citations from highly ranked journals are given more weight than others. 

Scopus Journal Analyser

Both SJR and SNIP are integrated into the Scopus Journal Analyzer where you can select and compare up to 10 journals.

SJR: SCImago Journal Rank Indicator

Part of Scopus and also available at

Similar to Eigenfactor in that it assigns higher value to citations from more prestigious journals.

Read more about the SJR plus find more info in the Journal Metrics FAQ.

SNIP: Source Normalized Impact per Paper

Part of Scopus and also available at

Takes a research field’s citation frequency into account.

Citation practices vary across disciplines – SNIP corrects/normalises these subject differences.
Read more about SNIP plus find more info in the Journal Metrics FAQ.

How SJR and SNIP are calculated

Arts and Humanities

The world of journal ranking, impact factor and citation metrics is not well-developed in arts and humanities disciplines. This is mainly due to differing trends and practices in research and scholarly communication in the humanities compared with other subject areas (such as the much greater importance of monographs over journals, and lower citation rates).

The European Reference Index for the Humanities (ERIH) is an attempt to produce a database of significant journals in the humanities. However, ERIH has proved controversial – see articles here and here, for example.

You can read more about metrics and research assessment in the arts and humanities on the British Academy web site.

Professor Rick Rylance, Chief Executive of the AHRC, gave some brief views on metrics and the humanities in an interview in 2009.

Other resources

Starting an open access journal

Thinking of setting up your own open access academic journal? Here are a few links to help you.