Answered By: Claire Sewell
Last Updated: Apr 23, 2020     Views: 365

Your supervisor or another faculty member can tell you which journals are likely to be the most important in your field of study, but you can also do some investigating on your own. To identify significant journals, ask yourself these questions:

Which titles keep cropping up?

When you do a literature search in eresources@cambridge or Google Scholar, you’ll probably notice that certain journal titles come up repeatedly in your results.  These are likely important ones in your field. To see how these titles rank against other journal titles, see the next section.

What about journal rankings?

The Journal Citation Reports database can help you identify the impact factor of journals in your field.  The impact factor is “a measure of the frequency with which the "average article" in a journal has been cited in a particular year or period.” Find out more how these impact factors are generated. But also see the European Association of Science Editors Statement on Inappropriate Use of Impact Factors for a fair-minded critique of impact factors and their (mis)use.

1. Visit Journal Citation Reports (available through Web of Science).

2. Select either Science or Social Sciences radio button and check that ‘View a group of journals by Subject Category’ is selected. Click ‘Submit’.

3. Select your area of research from the list. Press Ctrl and click to select more than one research area. Sort by Impact Factor and click ‘Submit’.

4. You will now see a list of journals in your subject areas, sorted by impact factor, along with other criteria for evaluating journals. Click on the information buttons to find out about these other metrics, or click on an abbreviated journal title to get more information about that journal. 



Where do the key players publish?

Finally, do you know the names of any of the important authors in your field? If so, try an author search in Scopus to see which journals they choose to publish in:

1. Visit Scopus and sign in to Raven if prompted.

2. Click on the ‘Author search’ tab. Add as much information as you can about the author you’re looking for.


3. Select the author from the list, then click ‘author evaluator’.


4. You will see a pie chart showing where this author has chosen to publish.