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Research Impact: Strategic journal publishing

Get strategies to increase the reach of your work and measure your research impact

What are Field of Research (FoR) codes?

FoR codes are an Australian government (ARC) classification system for classifying research activities. See Field of Research Codes explained and a complete list of codes

Journal metrics

Journal metrics are used to measure or rank journals according to their academic impact (citations). There are other metrics factors measured, such as the overall number of citations, how quickly articles are cited, and the average “half-life” of articles.

Some key things to note about journal metrics:

  • All metrics have limitations.
  • Do not compare journals from different disciplines.
  • Do not rely on a single metric. Ensure that you are using as much evidence as possible.
  • Metrics should always complement human judgement, not substitute for it.
  • Metrics are most often used for the sciences, medicine, technology, business and social sciences but are not a valuable measure of quality for arts and humanities journals. 
Metric Access Data source Explanation Field weighted
CiteScore Scopus Compare Sources Scopus Elsevier metric calculated from the number of citations within one year to documents published in the previous three years No
SCImago Journal Ranking (SJR) Scopus Compare Sources Scopus Calculated based on both the number of citations received by the journal and a measure of the prestige of citing journals Yes
Journal Impact Factor (JIF) Journal Citation Reports Web of Science Number of citations within one year to items published in the last two years No
Relative Citation Impact (RCI) Journal Finder IRMA Indicates how frequently citations occur compared to the global average, as an average of University of Sydney publications in a journal No

Compare Journal Metrics

Your faculty, school or organisational unit may also have journal lists or rankings that you should consult. Check with your supervisor or senior colleagues to confirm if this is the case.


Evaluate journals


SciMago Journal Ranking is a measure of journal impact that accounts for both the number of citations received by a journal and the importance or prestige of the journals where such citations come from (data is from Scopus).

Also speak to your colleagues and collaborators about a journal’s reputation.

Peer review

Is the publication known to have robust peer review measures in place and is it held in high regard by your colleagues and peers? Find out if a journal is peer-reviewed and basic journal demographics using Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory.

Editorial board

Are the editorial board highly qualified, recognisable figures who are broadly representative of the field? Find details of the editorial board on the “About this Journal” page of a journal’s website.

Publisher agreements and open access

Research that is hard to access is low impact. Read your publishing contract very carefully. It is vitally important that you don’t sign your rights away.

For self-archiving, an embargo is a period of time set by the publisher in the copyright transfer agreement. It means providing access to an archived version of the article in a digital repository is restricted until the embargo period expires. Typical embargo periods range from 6 to 24 months, though some publishers may require an embargo of up to 48 months. Read more about Open Access.


Read more

Cochran A. (2017, February 8). How many grains of salt must we take when looking at metrics?

Elsevier. (2017). Snowball metrics: standardized research metrics – by the sector for the sector.

Think. Check. Submit. (2017). Think. Check. Submit.

Key tools

Related resources