USF Shimberg Health Sciences Library

Pharmacy Library Guide

How to Evaluate a Journal

Before using an article for a journal club, you should be familiar with the reputation of the journal that published the article. Below are some steps you should take to evaluate the journal's credibility and therefore the article's credibility.

Is the journal recognized as scholarly?

  • IMPORTANT NOTE: When looking up a journal, check that the title and ISSN match the journal as listed. One common device that predatory publishers use is to create titles that are extremely similar to well-known, respected journals with only a slight variation.

Is the journal respected in the discipline (impact factor)?

  • IMPORTANT NOTE: Keep in mind that impact factor will vary with content of the journal and the size of the discipline. Journals that publish guidelines typically have very high impact factors while journals in a very specific sub-specialty may look low. Use ranking to compare the journal to others from the same discipline.

Other evaluation tools

  • Beall also produces a list of publishers and a list of individual journals that he considers suspicious. If you are unable to find a journal title listed in any of the above tools and find it listed on one of Beall's list, you will want to scrutinize the journal very carefully before using an article from this journal.