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Writing 116 (Hothem): Top Science Journals

Writing in the Natural Sciences

Browse Prominent Journals using Journal Citation Reports (JCR)

JCR can show you the:

  • Most frequently cited journals in a field
  • Highest impact journals in a field
    • see the Journal Impact Factor tab for more information
  • Issue table of contents and article links

Search by Category

  1. Go to InCites Journal Citation Reports (JCR)  and select Browse by Category .
  2. Click Select Categories at the left. Select the category that best matches your discipline.
  3. Once the center list is populated, click the number in the #journals column to view journal titles. Journal titles are sorted by Impact Factor.

Browse Table of Contents & Issues 

  1. Follow the above steps to locate journals within a category.
  2. Click a title to access the journal profile.
  3. Select the Go to Journal Table of Contents link. 

The Impact Factor is a measure of the frequency in which the "average article" from a particular journal has been cited in a given period of time. It is one way scholars measure the relative importance of a journal within its field. 

Use InCites Journal Citation Reports (JCR) to locate Journal Impact Factors and JIF quartile rankings. 

Journal Quartile Rankings

Journal quartile rankings are calculated by the JIF of the journal and dividing it by the number journals in that category to find x.  They are then distributed among as follows:

Q1: 0.0 < x ≤ 0.25

Q2: 0.25 < x ≤ 0.5

Q3: 0.5 < x ≤ 0.75

Q4: 0.75 <x

When searching in Web of Science, hover over the journal title in the results list or item record to view the journal's quartile ranking 

Image from University of Denver Libraries

Finding Significant Journals in a Field - Alternate Strategy

1. Look for your topic in an appropriate database e.g. Web of Science.

2. Search for your topic e.g. sample Search:  "clock proteins" and sleep (in Topic field)

3. Click Search.

4. Once on a results list page, click on arrow by Source Titles (in far left column).

5. You will see the journal titles listed which have articles on this topic.  Do some journal names include much content in this subject area?? e.g. Chronobiology International, Journal of Biochemistry, Journal of Biological Rhythms etc.

6. You could take a few journal titles e.g. top 6 and then look up the Impact Factors for them to make your own rank order.

Check Journal Availability

More about Journals

Find the journal's site online.  Look for information about the journal.  For instance, on the Cell site look for information For Authors > Information for Authors.  This will take you to a paragraph about the Aims & Scope of the journal.