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.
Enter the journal's title, title abbreviation, or ISSN into the search box. Check to see if the journal is currently indexed for MEDLINE. Journals indexed in MEDLINE have been evaluated by the National Library of Medicine.
This database is useful for determining whether or not a journal is peer-reviewed/refereed. Simply enter the name of the journal and look for the Referee Jersey icon . If you see it, it is registered with the directory as peer reviewed. (Keep in mind that Ulrich's is a directory and are not necessarily evaluating the validity of the journal.)
Search the JCR by journal name or ISSN. This works best by typing the journal name and selecting the option that comes up. If you copy/paste, you may miss the journal because of a slight variation in how it is recorded in the JCR.
Scimago is based on data from Scopus which includes a different set of journals. Search by journal title, ISSN, or publisher.
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)?
The Journal Impact Factor is a measure of how many times that journal has been cited by articles in the past two years. The higher the impact factor, the more influential the journal.
Find the most recent Journal Impact Factor by searching for the journal in the JCR. In addition to Journal Impact Factor, the JCR also lists the journal's rank within its category.
To find the number that is similiar to the JCR's Journal Impact Factor, look for Cites per doc. Remember, the SJR is using data from a different pool of journals, so this number will not match JCR's impact factor. Scimago also calculates SJR which factors in other criteria such as the influence of the citing journal as well as the number of cites received. Don't be distracted by the huge h-index at the top of the page! Look towards the bottom of the page for the Cites per Doc and SJR numbers.
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.
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.