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Michigan State University

Psychology Journals

A guide to finding and evaluating journals in psychology.

Other Journal Evaluation Sites

Citation Analysis Guide  Put together by a team of librarians at U of M, this guide is designed for faculty who need information on how to use library resources for citation analysis. This includes information about impact factors, journal rankings, and how to find who has cited an article.

The Thomson/Reuters Impact Factor Eugene Garfield, the man who invented the impact factor, explains in detail.

A Principal Component Analysis of 39 Scientific Impact Measures.  Bollen, et. al. focus on science fields but the study should be of general interest.  They provide a principal component analysis of the rankings produced by 39 existing and proposed measures of scholarly impact that were calculated on the basis of both citation and usage log data.

"We have become whores to the impact factor"  Peter Suber in Open Access News discussing Impact Factor manipulation.

Assessing Journal Importance

This is a difficult task to do fairly. There are a number of tools which will help.  It is important not to put too much weight on any one method.

Books that will help include:

  • Publishing your psychology research: A guide to writing for journals in psychology and related fields, by Dennis M. McInerney. London ; Thousand Oaks, Calif.: SAGE Publications, 2001. Main Library BF76.8 .M345 2001
  • Guide to publishing in psychology journals, edited by Robert J. Sternberg. Publisher Cambridge, U.K.; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000. Main Library BF76.8 .G85 2000

Online resources include:

  • Journal Citation Reports  from ISI/Web of Science; the original ranking service.  Coverage of psychology journals is minimal and crosses the science/social science divide.  Users need to check both.  Impact factor is their trademark, but criticisms of that measure have led them to also include h-index data.  Details/definitions available in the database.

  • Cabell's directories of publishing opportunities  Beaumont, Tex.: Cabell Pub. Co.  Journal by journal listing of data usually including review process, acceptance rates, and length of time from submission to publication.

  • APA Journal Statistics and Operations Data includes data about acceptance rates, lag time and number of subscribers.

  • Core Journals in Psychology. A listing compiled by the Psychology Committee of the Education and Behavioral Sciences Section.

  • Eigenfactor  Eigenfactor scores and Article Influence scores rank journals much as Google ranks website. Scholarly references join journals together in a network of citations. Algorithms use the structure of the entire network (instead of purely local citation information) to evaluate the importance of each journal.

  • Google Scholar Metrics, new as of April 2012, Google uses data from the scholar database to calculate h-index numbers for publications.  May obviate the need to work with the Publish or Perish (see below) software.

  • SCImago Journal & Country Rank is a portal that includes journal and country scientific indicators developed from the information contained in the Scopus® database (Elsevier B.V.), a commerical product competitive with the Web of Science/Journal Citation Report products. SCImago is a research group from the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), University of Granada, Extremadura, Carlos III (Madrid) and Alcalá de Henares.

  • Publish or Perish from Harzing.com is a software program that retrieves and analyzes academic citations. It uses Google Scholar to obtain the raw citations.  Use of Google for citation data assures a more inclusive basis.  But this is a do-it-yourself tool and it can take some time to get it right.
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