USF Shimberg Health Sciences Library

Researcher Guide


Before responding to that article request or sending off your manuscript, evaluate the journal's credentials. While the growth of online publications have contributed to the ease and speed of publishing study findings, it has also increased the number of publishers who are unscholarly at best and outright predatory at worst.

Below we've listed some tools you can use to evaluate the journal before you publish.

Is the journal recognized as scholarly?

Is the journal respected in the discipline?

  • For journals included in the InCites Journal Citation Report (JCR), the impact factor can tell you how often articles within that journal have been cited. The higher the impact factor, the more influence your article is likely to have (and the more likely your article is to be cited.)
  • Scopus covers a broader range of journals than JCR. It includes three numbers that indicate the influence of the journal: CiteScore, SJR, and SNIP, each with its own algorithm.
  • 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. The best measure of journal influence is typically in comparison with others from the same discipline. There is no set "good" number for journal impact.
  • Use cite reports from Google Scholar with caution as it includes cites from non-scholarly sources, such as course syllabi, and may inflate numbers.

Other evaluation tools

Choose a trustworthy journal for your research. Think. Check. Submit.

Simplify promotion and tenure or just make it easier for colleagues to access your publications: create a digital research identifier. Digital identifiers allow you to claim your publications under a single, unique ID. This is particularly critical if you have published under more than one name or variant of your name or if you have a name that may be frequently confused with someone else (e.g., Jones).

How to Determine the Influence of a Journal

The h-index is an index to quantify an individual’s scientific research output.

-- J.E. Hirsch

The h-index is an index that attempts to measure both the productivity and citation impact of the published body of work of a scientist or scholar. The index is based on the set of the scientist's most cited papers and the number of citations that they have received in other publications. The h-index can be manually determined using citation databases or using automatic tools. 

The h-index shows how many papers published by the author have been cited proportionately. An index of h means that the author has h papers that have been cited at least h times. 

For example, if Dr. Jones has published eight papers but only five of them have been cited five or more times, the maximum h-index Dr. Jones can have is five. 

Publication with Number of Times Cited

  • Publication #1 - cited 33 times
  • Publication #2 - cited 27 times
  • Publication #3 - cited 11 times
  • Publication #4 - cited 8 times
  • Publication #5 - cited 7 times <-- FIVE is the h-index for this author

  • Publication #6 - cited 3 times
  • Publication #7 - cited 2 times
  • Publication #8 - cited 0 times

Even though seven of the papers have received citations from other authors, Dr. Jones' h-index can be no higher than five. In order for his h-index to get to six, one of his other papers must have been cited at least six times.

Web of Science will calculate your h-index for you but all papers you wish to include must be in the Web of Science index. Other places to find the number of times a paper has been cited are in Scopus (not currently subscribed to by this institution) and Google Scholar. To find your h-index, list your publications sorted by the number of times each has been cited by others. Your h-index will be the last publication that has an equal or higher number of cites than the number of publications.

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