Bibliometrics and Impact Factor: Journal Measures and Tools

This guide explains how impact factor is used and calculated in journal and article rankings, as well as other methods of citation analysis.

Use of Journal Measures

The impact of journals can be used as a serials collection development tool.

These measures can also be used to advise faculty of the best journals to publish in.


Potentially, any database with citations could create bibliometric measures. Each vendor that offers bibliometric measures primarily uses its own unique data, journals, authority files, indexes, and subject categories.

There is currently no overarching tool across vendors.

Scopus' SNIP & SJR

Clickstream Data

Interesting work is being done to incorporate other ways that researchers use journals including clickstream data. The project below analyzed 1 billion user interactions.

"Intricate maps of science have been created from citation data to visualize the structure of scientific activity. However, most scientific publications are now accessed online. Scholarly web portals record detailed log data at a scale that exceeds the number of all existing citations combined. Such log data is recorded immediately upon publication and keeps track of the sequences of user requests (clickstreams) that are issued by a variety of users across many different domains. Given these advantages of log datasets over citation data, we investigate whether they can produce high-resolution, more current maps of science."

Bollen J, Van de Sompel H, Hagberg A, Bettencourt L, Chute R, et al. 2009. Clickstream Data Yields High-Resolution Maps of Science. PLoS ONE 4(3): e4803. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0004803

Databases that Measure Journal Impact

Tools that Measure Journal or Citation Impact

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