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Measuring the Importance of Journals and Articles
The Impact Factor is a measure of the frequency with which the "average article" in a 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.
Journal Citation Reports (JCR)
JCR allows you to search for Impact Factors for academic journals. e.g. Sort by Impact Factor, 5 Year Impact Factor, Eigenfactor Score, Article Influence (AI) Score
See Mapping > Interactive browser to identify the Top 10 journals in general subject fields, currently 2006 data. See Search by ISI Category for EigenFactor (EF) and Article Influence (AI) scores.
A peer-reviewed open-access journal published by the Public Library of Science. Includes articles, essays and book reviews addressing biological science. Article level metrics (article views) are included in each article record.
Profiles consumer and trade magazines, academic and scholarly publications, monographic series, newsletters, and electronic publication on all subjects.
Web of Science
Provides access to multiple science and social science databases: Arts & Humanities Citation Index (1975 - present), Social Sciences Citation Index (1956 - present), Science Citation Index (1900 - present), Conference Proceedings Citation Index-Science (1990 - present), and Conference Proceedings Citation Index-Social Science & Humanities (1990 - present). Also includes Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI).
Traditional Impact Factor Formula
from University of Denver Libraries: http://libguides.du.edu/c.php?g=204307&p=1348066
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.