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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Introduction to Impact Factor and Other Research Metrics

This online guide will help you identify common research metrics that are used to measure scholarly impact. This guide also outlines methods and tools you can use to identify journals in your field for publishing.

What's Next?

You've finished a piece of research, what's next? Before you contact journals to publish your research, it's important that you identify credible, relevant, and impactful journals to publish your work in, in addition to evaluating individual journals themselves. In other words, identifying journals for publication often requires more research!

This page outlines methods, tools, and resources you can use to identify journals in your field suitable for publication.


Database Searching

A simple way to get an idea of where your research topic fits in among journals is to search for your topic in a database to see where related articles have been published in your field.

Using the Scopus database can be a good way to identify journals for publication. Follow the instructions below to find journals using Scopus:

  1. Go to Scopus and enter keywords describing your article or manuscript’s topic. Then click Search.
  2. To the left of your results, you will see a list of limiters (year, author name, subject area, etc.). Scroll down and then click the double arrow next to Source Title.
  3. You will now see a list of journals containing articles that included your search terms. Notice the number of articles that each journal has published on your topic.
  4. To analyze your results further, click Analyze Results at the top of the results page.
  5. Click Source title to view a graph of the journal titles.
  6. You will now see a graph depicting the total number of articles published per year for your search query by journal title. Click on each journal title to view additional information including journal metrics.

Be sure to evaluate each journal for quality.

Browsing in Ulrich's Periodicals Directory

Ulrich's Web is a global serial directory. The directory is accessible online through the Library's resources here. Ulrich's Web publishes information about journals such as: publisher information, online availability, subject classifications, how often the serial is published, whether or not the journal is peer-reviewed, and much more. 

You can also browse article titles by issue for specific journals. This can be a quick way to get a sense of a more detailed sense of the journal's discipline and research focus. 

Scholars in Your Field

Identifying professors and scholars in your discipline can be a valuable way to learn about journals. Use their expertise to get a better overall view of the publishing community in your research focus. If you can't find a scholar that specializes in your discipline, try contacting a subject-specific librarian here at the Library by finding your subject library

Tools for Identifying Journals

Some databases and publishers have already done the work for you by compiling lists and databases specifically designed to examine impact: