Scholars that are considering an unfamiliar journal for submission often find it challenging to assess the quality of that journal. Prestigious journals with a proven track record are ubiquitously accepted as excellent publication outlets. The same is not necessarily true for other journals. However, a little bit of research will go a long way towards ascertaining the most basic quality criteria. This guide lists selected tools and methods for assessing journal quality.

You should keep in mind that traditional metrics (most notably, impact factor) are citation metrics. The underlying assumption is that the most heavily cited journals are the best. But there are other considerations. For example, a journal that specializes in a very narrow area will probably be cited less often than a journal with a wider scope, but if the narrow journal is read by everyone in that field, publishing in that journal may increase your audience and reputation in your area of expertise even if it does not generate citations. Your article might even get more citations if published in a niche journal than it would in the more prestigious but less specialized journal.

Citation metrics have two components: the data set and the mathematical formula applied to the data. There are two major datasets: Web of Science (WoS) and Scopus.

WoS, which includes journals in the sciences, social sciences, arts, and humanities, is a highly selective list of the most heavily cited journals. There are two mathematical formulas used on the WoS dataset: impact factor and eigenfactor. All journals in WoS are high-quality journals.

Scopus is the most comprehensive journal database. There are three mathematical formulas used on this dataset: CiteScore (calculated by Scopus), SNIP, and SJR.



Journal Citation Reports (Clarivate Analytics)
Journal Citation Reports (JCR) is a selective list of high-quality journals. JCR calculates impact factors and provides eigenfactors. Every journal in JCR is a high-quality journal. The rank in subject category is more important than the raw number. The raw number is not meaningful when comparing journals in different subject categories.

CiteScore (Scopus/Elsevier)
This is a comprehensive list of journals. Scopus calculates CiteScore and provides SNIP and SJR as well.

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