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General Information on Citation Metrics and Altmetrics

Journal citation metrics are intended to help scholars identify highly cited journals in their field. Citation metrics measure how frequently publications have been cited with the goal of measuring the impact of the journal within that discipline. Keep in mind, this is not a direct measure of the quality of the publications. There are many different metrics available, each with its own formula for measuring impact. As a result, you may want to consider looking at a variety of metrics. Some things to consider when you are using citation metrics:

  • Not all metrics evaluate and rank the same list of journals
  • Not all metrics evaluate and rank the same types of publications (e.g., research articles, monographs, reviews, conference papers, book chapters, etc.)
  • Citation rates vary widely in disciplines  so metrics of journals from differently disciplines will not be comparable.
  • Not all disciplines (and sub-disciplines) are represented and categorized in these various metrics. For your specific area of research, impact metrics may be unhelpful.
  • There are many things besides impact factor to consider when looking for the best way to disseminate your research.

Altmetrics are complementary to traditional, citation-based metrics. They typically track mentions to scholarly research in social media, the news, blogs, etc.

Impact Factor: The Measure of a Journal - Randy Souther, Gleeson librarian and editor of the open access journal Bearing Witness: Joyce Carol Oates Studies, discusses Impact Factor and alternative journal metrics.

Where to Find Citation Metrics and Altmetrics

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