You’ve painstakingly written an article based on your latest research, but now how do you decide where to submit it for publication?  OU Libraries subscribes to a tool called the Journal Citation Reports (JCR) that can assist you in determining where your research might make the biggest impact in your field.

According to its website, the JCR is a “comprehensive and unique resource that allows you to evaluate and compare journals using citation data drawn from over 11,000 scholarly and technical journals from more than 3,300 publishers in over 80 countries.” But what does that mean for you?  It means it provides a whole heck of a lot a data about many of the journals that may be natural fits for your research.

How to use JCR

The JCR presents information for both the sciences and the social sciences and our access goes back to 1997.  So, to begin your research, you must choose your area and the year you wish to review.  From there, you can further narrow your search to either browse by subject category, publisher, and/or country or search for specific journals.  If you are looking for a potential home for an article, I would recommend browsing by subject.

What does it all mean?

Once you drill down to either a list of titles or information on a specific title, you’re presented with a lot of numbers that may or may not mean anything to you.  Here is a quick summary of the information available and its implications for you:

  • Total Cites: The total number of citations to the journal during the year selected.
  • Impact Factor: The average number of times articles from the journal published during the past two years have been cited in journals, proceedings or books indexed by the Web of Science.  This number is calculated by dividing the number of citations by the total number of articles published in the previous two years.  Generally, the higher the number the greater the impact.
  • 5-year Impact Factor: The average number of times articles from the journal published in the past five years have been cited in the selected year. It is calculated by dividing the number of citations in the selected year by the total number of articles published in the previous five years.  Again, the higher the number, the greater the impact of the journal.
  • Immediacy Index: The average number of times an article is cited in the year it is published, so for journals, it indicates how quickly articles in the journal are cited.  This index is particularly effective for comparing journals that specialize in cutting-edge research.
  • Articles: The total number of articles in the journal published during the year selected.
  • Cited Half-Life: The median age of articles cited by the journal in a selected year. Only journals that publish 100 or more cited references have a citing half-life.
  • Eigenfactor Score: This uses citation data to assess and track the influence of a journal in relation to other journals and is based on the number of times articles from the journal published in the past five years have been cited in the selected year; references from one article in a journal to another article from the same journal are removed so the scores are not influenced by journal self-citation. You may learn more about how this works on the Eigenfactor website. This is a free tool that can also be used to research journals.
  • Article Influence Score: Determines the average influence of a journal’s articles over the first five years after publication. The mean Article Influence Score is 1.00 so a score greater than 1.00 indicates that each article in the journal has above-average influence.

This is just a brief overview of a very powerful tool.  I encourage you to explore the tool on your own, and ask your subject librarian if you have questions about how to use this tool. In our next post, we’ll discuss how to use this and other resources to show the potential impact of your published research.