Skip to Main Content
Library Hours

Measuring Scholarly Impact

This guide provides information on documenting and analyzing the impact of scholarly work.

Journal Metrics: Key Points

Several journal metrics exist. The most widely used at OSU is the impact factor. Others include SJR, SNIP, CiteScore, and Eigenfactor.

  • Metrics are based primarily on citations to articles as calculated by specific databases.
  • Metrics vary between databases due to the indexing coverage of the database.
  • Journal metrics were never meant as to be used as a proxy for researcher quality.
  • Metrics vary across disciplines due to differences in publication and citation patterns in disciplines and should not be used to compare disciplines.
  • The citation analysis tools built within Web of Science and Scopus can also be used to help find appropriate journal titles for publishing on specific topics.

Three databases are currently most important for tracking citations and thus, calculating journal metrics:


The HSL has created a quick tutorial that will walk you through the process of finding journal impact factors and rankings.

Impact Factor

  • Derived from citations to journal articles indexed in Web of Science over a 2-year period of time (deemed “citable items”).
  • Some disciplines are covered very well in Web of Science, while others are not; thus many good journals may not have impact factors.
  • ONLY  journals indexed by Web of Science in their citation databases will have an impact factor. Reported annually in Journal Citation Reports.


  • Found within Scopus but available freely
  • Based on Scopus citation data plus a rather complex calculation somewhat related to page ranking algorithm in Google. Variables used in the calculation include: # of articles in journal, number of total references in a journal, number of cites to that journal.

SNIP: Source Normalized Impact Per Paper

  • Also found in Scopus but available freely.
  • Calculated and maintained by Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS) at Leiden University.
  • Based on 3 years of Scopus citation data.
  • Includes publications classified as article, conference paper, or review in Scopus.


  • Elsevier makes these available, in addition to Scopus and Journal homepages of Elsevier journals.
  • Calculation is similar to impact factor, but based on three years of citations in the Scopus database.
  • Includes ALL types of publications for the journal, except in-press


  • Corollary to SJR but based on Web of Science data and included in Journal Citation Reports.
  • Includes journal prices in its data on the web (primarily from and searchable by cost-effectiveness.