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Faculty Publishing - Journals
Part 3: Journal Rankings, Impact Factors, and Cited References

This guide presents information and resources to assist you in investigating journals likely to publish research manuscripts in your discipline. The guide is presented in 3 parts:

Researchers have long relied on cited references in published research as pointers to the original published source of information. Citation indexes help researchers follow an idea backward and forward in time through the published literature.

Citation indexes are also used in citation analysis, which collects data to determine the popularity and impact of research articles, researchers, and journals. Citation analysis is also used in the promotion and tenure process to assess the impact of individual faculty members' published articles. You can use citation indexes to locate when and where scholarly research has referenced your own published research.

There is no one single citation database that can be used to trace every use of an article or book. Citation indexes focus on scholarly publications and are heavily weighted to science and medicine. Non-English language sources are not extensively covered. There is much discussion in the scholarly community regarding these biases and how they influence journal rankings, academic department rankings, and tenure processes.

Sources for Citation Indexing

Google Scholar

Google Scholar is a web search engine that searches peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, abstracts and articles, from academic publishers, professional societies, preprint repositories, universities and other scholarly organizations. The number of times a piece has been cited in other scholarly literature is a factor in the rankings of Google Scholar results.

Below is a Google Scholar example, note that the number of times cited is hyperlinked, allowing the researcher to link to citing sources. Citation example from Google Scholar



EBSCOHOST databases

Most EBSCOHost databases present cited references and times cited links with any basic or advanced search. You can also search a cited reference. Keep in mind that the cited references and times cited are limited to the database your are using at the time and will not be a comprehensive as a search in other resources.

Web of Science - online databases

Published by Thomson ISI, the Web of Science consists of three sub-databases:

The VC/UHV Library does not have a subscription to any of the parts of the Web of Science, but is available at the University of Houston Main Campus

Journal Rankings and Impact Factors

Citation indexing and the analysis of citation data is used to develop journal impact factors, which are used to assess core titles and key journals in academic disciplines. The impact factor for a journal is calculated based on a three-year period, and can be considered to be the average number of times published papers are cited up to two years after publication.

Journal impact factors most often quoted are published by Thomson ISI, the publishers of the Web of Science, in Journal Citation Reports (JCR). The VC/UHV Library does not subscribe to the JCR, but the Science Gateway has compiled links to In-Cites articles reporting information from the JCR.

Journal ranking studies can be found in many places, but in no one single source. A search in a web search engine using the terms "journal ranking" and an area of study is useful. You can also search in any journals database for published journal ranking studies. Contact Askalibrarian for more help.