Journal Impact Factor and Bibliometrics Q&A

By Kristy Padron, Scholarly Communication Services Librarian

Q 1:  What are Bibliometrics?  Bibliometrics are quantitative descriptions of a published work.  Scientists originally used them to quickly identify journal articles of interest.  Over time, bibliometrics became a means of evaluating journals, articles, and authors.

Q 2:  I heard of the Journal Impact Factor but are there other bibliometrics?  Journal Impact Factor (JIF, by Clarivate Analytics) is a journal-level bibliometric.  Others like this include CiteScore (by Elsevier), SciMago (by SciMago Labs) and Eigenfactor Score (by University of Washington).

Bibliometrics can include article-level metrics that analyze data points about an individual article.  They frequently show the usage, captures, number of citations, and social media mentions.

Another type of bibliometric includes author-level metrics.  These analyze the cumulative impact of an individual author’s works.  A common author-level metric is the h-index. 

Q 3:  How do scholars and institutions use bibliometrics?  Many institutions and funding agencies currently consider a scholar’s bibliometrics for evaluation.  A bid for promotion and tenure requires bibliometric information about a scholar’s works, while an application for a grant may request the same (for example, see page 29 for the NSF Grants Application Guide). 

Scholars of many disciplines use bibliometrics to identify influential journals.  A common belief is a journal with a high bibliometric is prestigious.  This may be true, but a bibliometric is one indicator of a journal’s quality among others.  Bibliometrics work well for fields with high citation density, meaning their journal articles cite many works.  Most STE fields have this, but a bibliometric may not be as strong of an indicator for journals in fields that cite fewer works such as mathematics. 

Q 4:  Does a JIF (or other bibliometric) describe a journal’s rank among all scholarly disciplines?  No.  A bibliometric analysis includes select journals within a discipline.  A bibliometric is assigned to journals included in that analysis, and the journals can be compared.  However, a journal’s bibliometric should not compare with those outside of its discipline.  To give a comparison, see the following table that lists journals with the highest JIF by discipline:

Name of Journal


Journal Impact Factor, 2022 (Journal Citation Reports)

New England Journal of Medicine



Annual Review of Psychology



Academy of Management Annals



Because of their differences in publication and citation rates, the bibliometric ranges of one field (e.g., medicine) will be different from those of another (e.g., business or psychology).  The lower JIF for Academy does not mean it has lower scholarly quality than the other listed journals.  A single bibliometric cannot simultaneously compare all journals and all disciplines.

Q 5:  If a journal doesn’t have a bibliometric, does it mean it’s not a good one?  Not necessarily.  Journals with bibliometrics are included in major indexes like Web of Science (by Clarivate Analytics) or Scopus (by Elsevier).  If a journal is not in one of those indexes, it is unlikely to have a journal-level bibliometric.  The decision about whether a journal is included rests with its reviewers.

More Information:

·         Find Impact Factors and Other Bibliometrics:

·         Metrics Toolkit - Explore Metrics:

·         Web of Science and Journal Citation Reports (FAU COCE Professional Development Session Recording):

Last modified at 07/11/2022 - 10:47 AM