Journal ranking metrics must be used with caution. They are calculated as an average number of citations received by all articles in a journal over the past 2-5 years, providing an indication of the citation performance of a journal during this time frame. As an average calculation, it is unlikely that a journal metric provides an accurate indication of the citation performance of individual articles e.g. at each extreme:
When using journal metrics, it is also essential that disciplinary differences are taken into account. There are two major factors to consider: (1) number of journals indexed in a database source per discipline and (2) citation behaviour varies between disciplines. These two factors can represent a three-fold difference between STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Medicine) and HASS (Humanities and Social Sciences) disciplines. This is a reflection of disciplinary differences, not academic performance.
Two landmark documents strongly recommend that journal metrics are not used for measuring the quality of individual research articles, or as a direct measure of research performance:
These recommendations are supported by JCU in the Research Performance Model.
If a journal has not been assigned a ranking for the metrics in this LibGuide, it is important to note that this does not necessarily mean that the journal is of low quality.
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