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Measure research impact and quality

Why quality matters

The need to focus on publishing in quality publications is sometimes featured in applications for grants or positions. The systems in place tend to rely on metrics and other pre-defined standards of quality, which can disadvantage some areas.

Factors to consider when determining the most appropriate journals in which to publish your research include

  • Discipline relevance and teaching the desired target audience
  • Journal quality or impact, often determined through the use of metrics
  • Prestige of the editorial team, contributors and journal circulation
  • Accessibility of the journal to a broader audience
  • Open access requirements of publishers and funders

See the Publish and disseminate research guide for more information.  

Impact Factor vs SJR

The Impact Factor and SJR are two common measurements of rankings of journal quality. Both measures look at the number of citations the journal has received.

This table highlights some of the main differences and commonalities between the two measures. 

Impact Factor SJR
Source InCites Journal Citation Reports (JCR) - drawing on the data in Web of Science Scopus
A measure of Citation Impact Prestige
Availability Subscription access via JCR Freely available via SCImago website
Journal titles 12,000+ 22,000+
How is it calculated? The number of citations of articles published in the source journal in the preceding two years divided by the number of items published in that journal in the previous two years. Iterative process based on transfer of prestige from a journal to another, using current year citations to the source items published in that journal during the previous three years
Citations included All document types (including editorials) Articles, conference papers and reviews
Documents included Articles and reviews Articles, conference papers and reviews
Interdisciplinary comparisons Not useful for comparing disciplines. You should only compare Impact Factors for journals in the same field. Yes. The rank has been normalised to account for differences between the disciplines
Further Information The Clarivate Analytics Impact Factor About SJR


Other journal rankings or measurements are available such as Citescore which also draws from Scopus. The ranking is calculated a similar way to Impact Factor but uses citations from the Scopus database from the last three years 

Journal benchmarking tools

Journal and publisher lists