Determining Which Journals are Significant in Your Field

In every field or discipline, there are journals that scholars consider prestigious and influential. There are a few ways to find these journals in your field.

  • Ask your professors and other scholars in your field which journals they respect and would recommend you use for your research.
  • Ask your subject librarian for a recommendation. Librarians are often familiar with the scholarly journals in their fields and can help you assess a journal.
  • Pay attention to which journals you read. As you start to read more and more literature in your field, pay attention to the journals that publish the articles you find influential.
  • Use a scholarly journal metric to get a general overview of journals in a discipline. Journal metrics should be used to give an overview or a general idea but be careful of placing too much faith in them. Metrics look at the average citations a journal receives per article. Scholars criticize these metrics because journals can use them to their advantage, they do not measure the value of specific articles, and often, too much value is placed on them. As more scholars move away from impact factor and metrics, the University of Nevada, Reno Libraries recommend using them only in conjunction with the other suggested steps. Some journal metrics include the Journal Impact Factor (you will need to sign in with your NetID if not on campus), SCImago’s Journal Rank indicator, and the Eigenfactor.  You will notice that because of differences in each of their methodologies, these journal metrics rank journals differently from each other. For more information on journal metrics, see the Declaration of Research Assessment and the European Association of Sciences Editors Statement on Inappropriate use of Impact Factors.