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Library Research Guides

Research Impact Metrics: Citation Analysis

Information on how to use library resources for citation analysis. This includes information about impact factors, journal rankings, altmetrics and how to find who has cited an article. Created by Sue Wortman.

Other Quality Indicators

As a researcher you will be encouraged to publish in quality, high impact scholarly journals. It is important that you know what to look for in a journal aside from a high impact factor. This page provides a number of ways you can judge the reputation of a journal in addition to impact factors. 


Scholarly journals generally have an editorial board, use some type of peer review process and will publish the primary results of research and summaries or reviews of previous research in their field of academic interest. They may also include academic book reviews. Many but not all professional journals are also peer reviewed.

Articles in popular journals and trade publications on the other hand are generally not peer reviewed, they favor a much more informal writing style, and often have no, or only very brief, bibliographies.


The highest quality scholarly journals are always peer reviewed or refereed. Manuscripts submitted to this type of journal must be evaluated by an editor, an editorial panel or a panel of experts (peers) in the field before being accepted for publication.  In blinded peer review, the author's name and institution are concealed from the reviewer in order to reduce reviewer bias. 

A journal’s editorial policy and/or instructions for authors will often indicate if and how articles are peer reviewed. This information is usually located on the publisher’s web site and in at least one printed issue of the journal each year. This is also where you will find the scope and editorial focus of the journal to check

  • whether your article will be suitable
  • how your article should be formatted
  • what citation style is required - some journals may provide a downloadable style file for you to use.

You can also check Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory to see if your journal title is refereed.   Searches of Ulrich's normally pull up a list of journals.  Refereed journals  have  to the left of the journal name.  Use the link below to view a tutorial created by University of British Columbia on how to find out if a journal is refereed using Ulrichsweb Global Serial Directory. 

Journal Indexing

Widely indexed articles are more likely to be found by other researchers during their literature review process and a quality journal will be indexed in one or more major journal indexes. Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory lists the databases in which a journal is indexed.  When you've selected the journal you're looking for, you'll get a record for that journal that has several expandable sections at the bottom of the entry, one of which is Abstracting and Indexing.   When you click on this section you'll get a list of databases in which the article is indexed.

You can often find information like where a journal is indexed by looking up the journal publisher page. 

screen shot showing Developmental Psychology

Circulation Count

Circulation count is one measure of the journal’s audience and hence the potential exposure for your article. Some popular journals will include other statistics to give you a better idea of how much exposure you may receive when publishing in their journal. Information like this may be available from the journal publisher's web site. The example below is from the journal JAMA Psychiatry and includes both acceptance rate and number of online visits to their site.

"Why Publish in JAMA Psychiatry" screen shot

Acceptance Rate

A journal's acceptance rate refers to the number of manuscripts accepted for publication relative to the number of manuscripts submitted within the last year.  Journals with lower acceptance rates are considered to be more prestigious. See the page in this guide on finding a journal acceptance rate for more information. 

Editor and Editorial Board

The editor and members of the editorial board should be well-known and respected in the field.  They should not all be associated with the same institution, and should be from different geographical locations. This information can be found on the journal web site. 

Screen shot showing link to editorial board info for journal

Other Interesting Sources