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Measuring Research Impact

Provides the common tools and methods to evaluate the impact of research

What is Journal Citation Reports?

Journal Citation Reports (JCR) is a resource tool published annually by Thomson Reuters (formerly ISI) to provide citation and publication data of academic journals in the science and social science fields.

Starting with the 2021 release, journals from all editions of the Web of Science™ Core Collection will appear in the JCR with journals in the Science Citation Index Expanded™ and Social Sciences Citation Index™ being eligible for JIF metrics.

For details, please see JCR Reference Guide.

How to access JCR?

Access Journal Citation Reports via this link:

Note that JCR is also accessible as part of Web of Science - select "Journal Citation Reports" from the tool bar at the top of the screen after accessing Web of Science:

How to find citation data of journals in JCR?

  1. If you already have a title in mind, enter your desired journal in the search box in the "Go to Journal Profile" area  to find a particular journal and view the citation data and impact values of this journal.
  2. If you want to identify top or influential journals within a subject discipline:
    • Click on the "Categories by Rank" tab.
    • Select the JCR year and the edition(s) you want ("Science" (SCIE) or "Social Sciences" (SSCI) Edition) and click "Submit".
    • Select the "Category" column header to sort alphabetically to make the category easier to find.
    • Click on the number of the journals in your desired category to view the journal titles in this category. Journals are ranked by Impact Factor by default.
    • Each journal in JCR is assigned to at least one subject category. Some journals appear in two or three categories.
  3. If you want to compare journals' citation data, click on the "Journal by Rank" tab to use the “Select journals” filter.

Refer to these online tutorials to learn how to use JCR in the new InCites platform.

How to identify top journals in a subject discipline?

Identify top journals in a subject category -

  1. Select the "Categories By Rank" tab.
  2. Select our desired JCR year and edition(s).
  3. Click the "Category" column header to sort alphabetically to make your desired category easier to find.
  4. Click on the number of the journals in your desired category to view the journal titles in this category. Journals are ranked by Impact Factor by default and journals with the highest impact factors will appear at the top.


Identify top journals in selected subject categories (more than one category) -

  1. In the "Journal By Rank" area, click "Select Categories".
  2. Select your desired subject categories (use the Ctrl key to select more than one category)
  3. Close the "Select Categories" window and click "Submit".
  4. A list of journals is displayed. Journals are ranked by Impact Factor by default and journals with the highest impact factors will appear at the top.

What are "Journal Impact Factor" (JIF) and other JCR metrics?

Journal Impact Factor (JIF) is the average number of times articles from the journal published in the past two years have been cited in the reference year.

For example, the JIF for 2014 for Industrial and corporate change is 1.26:

Cites in 2014 to items published in 2012 and 2013 /
number of items published in 2012 and 2013


= 126 / 100 = 1.26


Other JCR metrics:

  • 5-year Impact Factor - uses the cites in the reference year to items published in the past 5 years
  • Total Cites - shows the total number of citations to the journal in the reference year
  • Immediacy Index - shows how quickly articles in a journal are cited
  • Cited Half-life - tells you the publication history or change in format of a journal

Click a journal name in JCR to view detailed citation data of the journal.

Refer to the quick links on this page in the "JCR tutorials & guide" box on the right to access the search guides and tutorial and learn more about these metrics.


Quartile Score:

Refer to the "Quartile Score" box on this page to learn more about Quartile Score.


Eigenfactor metrics:

Refer to the "" box on the "Other Journal Ranking Tools" page to learn more about Eigenfactor metrics.

Quartile Score

The value of an Impact Factor itself does not show you the relative importance of a journal. Instead, you have to compare the Impact Factors of journals in the same field to identify a journal's impact.

The Quartile in Category or the Quartile Score, on the other hand, shows the relative location of a journal along the range of an Impact Factor distribution.

To view the Quartile Score of a journal, from a journal record, click on the "Rank" option underneath the "Key indicators" table. Then you will see a table showing the ranking of this journal in its subject catagories based on Impact Factor.

The journal "Fuel Cells", for example, ranks 9th out of 72 in the "Chemistry, Applied" category in 2014. It falls into the highest quartile (Q1) in this category and is among the top 25% of the IF distribution. In the "Energy & Fuels" category, this journal ranks 24th out of 89 journals in 2014, a mid-high position, Q2, which denotes between top 50% and top 25% of the IF distribution.

Q3 denotes a middle-low position (top 75% to top 50%), and Q4 bottom position (bottom 25% of the IF distribution).

Some limitations of JCR Impact Factor

JCR Impact Factor has a long history of over 30 years and is still the most popularly used journal measure. However, it has its limitations:

  • Limited number of journals indexed in Web of Science - Journals in A&HCI not covered; Some subject fields & non-English journals poorly covered.
  • Includes journal self-citation (i.e. citation by articles in the same journals)
  • "Non-citable" items are not counted as published items, but citations in these items (even to the same journal) are counted. IF calculation can be easily manipulated.
  • Considers only the number of citations, but neglects different citation behavior among subject disciplines (e.g. publication frequency, length of reference list, number of authors)

You should therefore realize these limitations and use IF with caution.

JCR tutorials & guide


Online tutorials

Quick guide