Journal Citation Reports: Learn the Basics
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The Journal Impact Factor is only a number unless it's placed into context. Use the JIF trend graph to see how a journal performs over time and against others journals in its categories.
What types of documents were cited and how frequently for this journal? Were citations evenly distributed or were a few documents responsible for most of the citation activity?
How is the Journal Impact Factor calculated and which specific articles contributed the most to the number?
Use the journal profile to better understand a journal's content. How much of the content is considered subscription versus open access, and how many citations did each type receive?
Journal Citation Reports Data
Journal Citation Reports is sourced from Web of Science Core Collection, the premier citation index on the Web of Science platform. Journals must undergo a rigorous evaluation by our editorial team in order to be covered in Web of Science Core Collection. We capture the cited references for all content from these journals, and we link those cited references to the cited papers. This article-level citation data is aggregated to the journal-level at the end of the year to create the indicators available in JCR. Over 11,500 titles from the Science Citation Index-Expanded and Social Sciences Citation Index are covered in JCR. The Science and Social Science editions of JCR are released annually.
Understanding Journal Citation Reports Metrics
- Journal Impact Factor
- Immediacy Index
- Quartiles & JIF Percentiles
- Cited & Citing Half Life
The Journal Impact Factor identifies the frequency with which an average article from a journal is cited in a particular year. You can use this number to evaluate or compare a journal’s relative importance to others in the same field or see how frequently articles are cited to determine which journals may be better for your collection.
Example 2017 Impact Factor Calculation:
Impact factor numerator - cites to recent items:.
The numerator looks at citations in a particular JCR year to a journal's previous two years of content. For example, the 2017 Journal Impact Factor for a journal would take into account 2017 items that cited that journal's 2015 or 2016 content. The numerator includes citations to anything published by the journal in that 2015-2016 timeframe.
Impact Factor Denominator - Number of recent items:
The denominator takes into account the number of citable items published in the journal in 2015 and 2016. Citable items include articles and reviews. Document types that aren't typically cited, e.g. letters or editorial materials, are not included in the Impact Factor denominator.
The Immediacy Index measures how frequently the average article from a journal is cited within the same year as publication. This number is useful for evaluating journals that publish cutting-edge research.
Example 2015 Immediacy Index Calculation:
Immediacy index numerator - cites to recent items:.
The numerator looks at citations in a particular JCR year to a journal's content from the same year. For example, the 2015 Immediacy Index for a journal would take into account 2015 citations to the journal's 2015 papers. The numerator includes citations to anything published by the journal in that year.
Immediacy Index Denominator - Number of recent items:
The denominator takes into account the number of citable items published in the journal in 2015. Citable items include articles and reviews.
A journal's quartile ranking is determined by comparing a journal to others in its JCR category based on Impact Factor score. If a journal falls in Q1, it means that the journal performs better than at least 75% of journals in that category, based on its Impact Factor score.
The journal’s rank in category, determined by Impact Factor, expressed as a percentile. For example, a journal with a JIF percentile of 89 performs better than 89% of journals in that category, based on its Impact Factor score. JIF percentiles give you a more granular view than quartiles do.
What depth of literature was cited in a calendar year?
Two descriptive metrics in the Journal Citation Reports help us understand this for each individual journal for each year: the Cited Half Life and Citing Half Life
A half-life in the context of the JCR is the median age of cited objects. Those can be citations made TO items within a journal or citations made FROM a journal to others.
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Journal Citation Reports
We identify the world's leading journals
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Quickly understand the role of each journal in the evolving scholarly publishing landscape to make informed decisions about manuscript submission, collection development and portfolio management.
Evaluate journals with a multidimensional view of a journal’s impact and influence. View citation metrics, including the Journal Impact Factor TM (JIF TM ) and Journal Citation Indicator TM , alongside descriptive open access statistics and contributor information.
The 2023 release of Journal Citation Reports includes:
Essential for journal evaluations.
Benchmark your journal’s performance against others in a discipline
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How are journals selected for Journal Citation Reports TM (JCR TM )?
Only journals that meet our 24 rigorous selection criteria are selected for inclusion.
arrow_forward Web of Science Editorial Selection Process
- Rely on our experts to provide unbiased, publisher-neutral information which does not promote or endorse any specific publishers.
- Consult detailed journal profiles with publication and citation data from the world’s original citation index– Web of Science Core Collection TM .
- Only journals that have met the rigorous quality standards in the Web of Science Core Collection editorial selection process are selected for inclusion.
- Quickly locate the most influential journals in your field.
- Save time assessing journals for submission or subscription.
- Remove journals that demonstrate predatory behavior from your process.
- Explore a complete view of citation performance using a dataset built using cover-to-cover indexing and consistent metadata capture.
- Drill down to granular, linked data to thoroughly understand a journal’s performance and relationships to other publications.
- Monitor journal coverage changes in the Web of Science Core Collection using the freely accessible and searchable Master Journal List . Consult monthly reports to learn which journals have been newly accepted, removed due to an editorial or production decision, or appear for the first time or no longer appear as a result of publication changes (e.g. title changes, mergers, ceases, splits and absorptions).
Journal Citation Reports vs. Web of Science
A key difference between the Web of Science and the Journal Citation Reports is that the Web of Science is continually updated, while the JCR data represent a snapshot from a specific time, namely, the date when the data were extracted for analysis. This difference reflects the essential nature of each product.
The Web of Science is an evolving record of the dynamic world of scholarly communication with new source content continually added, including citations. JCR, on the other hand, is an annual report on the citation impact of a defined set of journals at a given moment in time.
Therefore, attempts to use the Web of Science data to replicate JCR metrics will lead to results that will vary from those reported in JCR.
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Jif in the master journal list.
View the full list of journals with a JIF in the Master Journal List
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Measuring Research Impact
- Cited Reference Search
- Journal Citation Reports
What is Journal Citation Reports?
How to access jcr, how to find citation data of journals in jcr, how to identify top journals in a subject discipline, what are "journal impact factor" (jif) and other jcr metrics, quartile score, some limitations of jcr impact factor, jcr tutorials & guide.
- Scopus "Compare Sources" Tool
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- Free tools to be used with Google Scholar
- Using Web of Science to evaluate universities
- Using Scopus to evaluate universities
- Commonly used university ranking lists
- Impact of Countries
Journal Citation Reports (JCR) is a resource tool published annually by Thomson Reuters (formerly ISI) to provide citation and publication data of academic journals in the science and social science fields .
Starting with the 2021 release, journals from all editions of the Web of Science™ Core Collection will appear in the JCR with journals in the Science Citation Index Expanded™ and Social Sciences Citation Index™ being eligible for JIF metrics.
For details, please see JCR Reference Guide .
Access Journal Citation Reports via this link:
- Journal Citation Reports This link opens in a new window
Note that JCR is also accessible as part of Web of Science - select "Journal Citation Reports" from the tool bar at the top of the screen after accessing Web of Science:
- Web of Science Core Collection This link opens in a new window
- If you already have a title in mind, enter your desired journal in the search box in the "Go to Journal Profile" area to find a particular journal and view the citation data and impact values of this journal.
- Click on the "Categories by Rank" tab.
- Select the JCR year and the edition(s) you want ("Science" (SCIE) or "Social Sciences" (SSCI) Edition) and click "Submit".
- Select the "Category" column header to sort alphabetically to make the category easier to find.
- Click on the number of the journals in your desired category to view the journal titles in this category. Journals are ranked by Impact Factor by default.
- Each journal in JCR is assigned to at least one subject category. Some journals appear in two or three categories.
- If you want to compare journals' citation data , click on the "Journal by Rank" tab to use the “Select journals” filter.
Refer to these online tutorials to learn how to use JCR in the new InCites platform.
Identify top journals in a subject category -
- Select the "Categories By Rank" tab.
- Select our desired JCR year and edition(s).
- Click the "Category" column header to sort alphabetically to make your desired category easier to find.
- Click on the number of the journals in your desired category to view the journal titles in this category. Journals are ranked by Impact Factor by default and journals with the highest impact factors will appear at the top.
Identify top journals in selected subject categories (more than one category) -
- In the "Journal By Rank" area, click "Select Categories".
- Select your desired subject categories (use the Ctrl key to select more than one category)
- Close the "Select Categories" window and click "Submit".
- A list of journals is displayed. Journals are ranked by Impact Factor by default and journals with the highest impact factors will appear at the top.
Other JCR metrics:
- 5-year Impact Factor - uses the cites in the reference year to items published in the past 5 years
- Total Cites - shows the total number of citations to the journal in the reference year
- Immediacy Index - shows how quickly articles in a journal are cited
- Cited Half-life - tells you the publication history or change in format of a journal
Click a journal name in JCR to view detailed citation data of the journal.
Refer to the quick links on this page in the "JCR tutorials & guide" box on the right to access the search guides and tutorial and learn more about these metrics.
Refer to the "Quartile Score" box on this page to learn more about Quartile Score.
Refer to the "Eigenfactor.org" box on the "Other Journal Ranking Tools" page to learn more about Eigenfactor metrics.
The value of an Impact Factor itself does not show you the relative importance of a journal. Instead, you have to compare the Impact Factors of journals in the same field to identify a journal's impact.
The Quartile in Category or the Quartile Score , on the other hand, shows the relative location of a journal along the range of an Impact Factor distribution.
To view the Quartile Score of a journal, from a journal record, click on the "Rank" option underneath the "Key indicators" table. Then you will see a table showing the ranking of this journal in its subject catagories based on Impact Factor.
The journal "Fuel Cells", for example, ranks 9th out of 72 in the "Chemistry, Applied" category in 2014. It falls into the highest quartile (Q1) in this category and is among the top 25% of the IF distribution. In the "Energy & Fuels" category, this journal ranks 24th out of 89 journals in 2014, a mid-high position, Q2 , which denotes between top 50% and top 25% of the IF distribution.
Q3 denotes a middle-low position ( top 75% to top 50% ), and Q4 bottom position ( bottom 25% of the IF distribution).
JCR Impact Factor has a long history of over 30 years and is still the most popularly used journal measure. However, it has its limitations:
- Limited number of journals indexed in Web of Science - Journals in A&HCI not covered; Some subject fields & non-English journals poorly covered.
- Includes journal self-citation (i.e. citation by articles in the same journals)
- "Non-citable" items are not counted as published items, but citations in these items (even to the same journal) are counted. IF calculation can be easily manipulated.
- Considers only the number of citations, but neglects different citation behavior among subject disciplines (e.g. publication frequency, length of reference list, number of authors)
You should therefore realize these limitations and use IF with caution.
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Research Impact Metrics: Citation Analysis
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Table of Contents for this Page
Introduction to journal citation reports.
- Journal Citation Report: Impact Factor
- Journal Citation Report: Immediacy Index
Additional Journal Citation Report Tutorials
Journal Citation Reports (JCR) is a produced by Clarivate Analytics and can be accessed either by a direct link to the database from Library Search or from within the Web of Science interface.
Journal Citation Reports has a long history of analyzing, comparing and ranking journals in specific disciplines. JCR is a trusted source for finding journal ranking but it does not cover all journals.
Definitions of measurements used by JCR:
- Impact Factor A journal impact factor is a calculation based on a two-year period and is calculated by dividing the number of citations in the JCR year by the total number of articles published in the two previous years. An impact factor of 2 means that, on average, the articles published one or two years ago have been cited two times.
- 5-Year Impact Factor The 5-year journal impact factor is the average number of times articles from a journal published in the past five years have been cited in the chosen JCR year.
- Immediacy Index The immediacy index is the average number of times an article is cited in the year it is published. It is a way of determining the "hot topics" in a discipline.
- EigenFactor The Eigenfactor Score calculation is based on the number of times articles from the journal published in the past five years have been cited in the JCR year, but it also considers which journals have contributed these citations so that highly cited journals will influence the network more than lesser cited journals. References from one article in a journal to another article from the same journal are removed, so that Eigenfactor Scores are not influenced by journal self-citation.
- Cited Half-Life The citing half-life is the average age of articles cited by the journal in the JCR year. For example, in JCR 2014, the journal International Social Work has a citing half-life of 7.1. That means that 50% of all articles cited by articles in International Social Work in 2014 were published between 1995 and 2014 (inclusive). This helps to evaluate the currency of the research cited.
- Article Influence Score This score is a means of measuring the influence of a journal's articles over the first five years since publication. It is calculated by multiplying the Eigenfactor Score by 0.01 and dividing that by the number of articles in the journal.
Journal Citation Reports: Impact Factor
Journal Citation Reports: Immediacy Index
Use the link below to see a list of all v ideo tutorials about Journal Citation Reports developed by Web of Science.
- Journal Citation Reports YouTube Videos Choose from 11 brief videos to find out more information about using Journal Citation Reports.
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How to cite a journal article
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What is a journal citation?
Journal citations are used mainly in the sciences and social sciences to inform the reader about the source you have quoted or paraphrased in your work.
When you cite a journal, the exact format will depend on the style you use, for example, Harvard, APA or MLA. Check with your academic institution to ensure you provide the journal citations in the format they are expecting as this is the criteria you’ll be marked on.
How to write a journal citation
In most cases, a citation for a journal consists of the author’s name, article title, journal name, volume number, year of publication and page numbers. Some styles will ask you to specify the medium of publication, which is ‘Print’ for hard copy journals and ‘Web’ for online journals.
Against the clock? Try the RefME web tool and mobile app, and have the whole thing done for you in seconds, automatically. With over 7,000 styles to choose from, we’re sure to have the one you need.
Journal citation example
APA in-text citation:
(Darley & Latane, 1968)
APA bibliography example:
Darley, J. M., & Latane, B. (1968). Bystander Intervention in Emergencies: Diffusion of responsibility. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology , 108 . Retrieved from http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/psp/8/4p1/377