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LLED/QUAL 8750: Qualitative Writing (Harman): Journal Rankings

Journal Rankings

What is an impact factor?

An impact factor is commonly used to evaluate the journal's relative importance to its field. It is measured by the frequency that an average article in the journal has been cited within a particular year. Journals that publish more peer-review articles will typically have larger impact factors. Impact Factors only reflect that of the journal and not of the individual articles or authors. A newer journal may not have an impact factor listed due to not enough available data for an Impact Factor to be calculated. More great information about impact factor can be found at:

Where to find Journal Impact Factors?

The most notable source for journal impact factors is the annual publication called the Journal Citation Reports (JCR) published by Thomson Scientific.

How is the Journal Impact Factor Calculated?

Thomson defines impact factor as, “The journal Impact Factor is the average number of times articles from the journal published in the past two years have been cited in the JCR year. The Impact Factor is calculated by dividing the number of citations in the JCR year by the total number of articles published in the two previous years. An Impact Factor of 1.0 means that, on average, the articles published one or two year ago have been cited one time. An Impact Factor of 2.5 means that, on average, the articles published one or two year ago have been cited two and a half times. Citing articles may be from the same journal; most citing articles are from different journals.” Below, the IF for this journal would be 1.4, meaning that the articles published in this journal were cited 1.4 times.

Searching in Journal Citation Reports (JCR)



More on Impact Factors


Griffin, K. A. (2019). Building on our strengths and expanding our impact. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, 12(1), 1-2. 10.1037/dhe0000110

Gruber, T. (2014). Academic sell-out: How an obsession with metrics and rankings is damaging academia. Journal of Marketing for Higher Education, 24(2), 165-177.

Hall, C. M., & Page, S. J. (2015). Following the impact factor: Utilitarianism or academic compliance? Tourism Management, 51, 309-312. 10.1016/j.tourman.2015.05.013

Holden, G., Rosenberg, G., Barker, K., & Onghena, P. (2006). An assessment of the predictive validity of impact factor scores: Implications for academic employment decisions in social work. Research on Social Work Practice, 16(6), 613-624.

Jarwal, S. D., Brion, A. M., & King, M. L. (2009). Measuring research quality using the journal impact factor, citations and "ranked journals": Blunt instruments or inspired metrics? Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 31(4), 289-300.

Matson, J. L., Lott, J. D., & Bielecki, J. (2003). A data-based method of ranking department, faculty and journals in professional impact. Higher Education Policy, 16(1), 109-120.

Matthews, H. (2002). Pedagogy, research and quality publishing. Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 26(1), 5-11. 10.1080/03098260120110322

Stephen, T. D. (2011). A methodology for calculating prestige ranks of academic journals in communication: A more inclusive alternative to citation metrics. Behavioral & Social Sciences Librarian, 30(2), 63-71.

'Undue reliance' on journal impact factor in academic evaluation. (2019). Times Higher Education, (2404), 12-13.

West, R., & Rich, P. (2012). Rigor, impact and prestige: A proposed framework for evaluating scholarly publications. Innovative Higher Education, 37(5), 359-371. 10.1007/s10755-012-9214-3