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Database Guides: ISI Journal Citation Reports

Information about using the various databases in the A-Z Online Resources,


What is it?

Journal Citation Reports (JCR) is a tool for journal evaluation, using citation data drawn from over 11,000 journals from 237 disciplines. There are two editions, published annually from 1997 onwards:

- JCR Science Edition
- JCR Social Science Edition


See the JCR Quick Reference Guide and video tutorials below.



What is it for?

You can find:

- Most frequently cited journals in a field

- Highest impact journals in a field, i.e., the frequency with which the "average article" in a journal has been cited in a particular year. The impact factor will help you evaluate a journal’s relative importance, especially when you compare it to others in the same field.

-  the most appropriate and influential journals in which to publish

-  related journals to publish in. For example, if you have identified one likely candidate journal you would like to publish in - using the strength of cited and citing relationships from that candidate journal you can find related journals. In JCR search for a journal title, then choose the Related Journals button.

- Due to different citation patterns across different subject areas, you can normally only compare journals within the same Subject Category in JCR. However, you can compare journals across Subject Categories using the metrics: Journal Impact Factor Percentile and Normalized Eigenfactor (read more about these metrics below).



How to search

To search for a specific journal: enter the journal title in the Go to Journal Profile box at the top left.  As you start typing you will see matching entries appear, select your journal from the list. You can also search using the journal ISSN or JCR journal title abbreviation. You will be shown the following data:

Key Indicators table

Total cites: Indicates the total number of times that each journal has been cited by all journals included in the ISI database within the current product year.

Journal Impact Factor (JIF): A measure of the frequency with which the "average article" in a journal has been cited in a particular year. The impact factor is calculated by dividing the number of current citations to articles published in the two previous years by the total number of articles published in the two previous years.

Impact Factor without Journal Self Cites: The Journal Impact Factor calculated after citations from journal articles to the journal in which they are published have been removed from the total count.

Five-Year Impact Factor: Gives a broader range of citation activity for a more informative snapshot over time. For journals in subjects where citation activity continues to rise through several years, this allows more of their total citation activity to be included in a critical performance metric.

Immediacy Index: A measure of how quickly the "average article" in a journal is cited. The Immediacy Index will tell you how often articles published in a journal are cited within the same year.

Citable items: Total citable articles in the particular year.

Cited Half-life: The median age of the articles that were cited in the JCR year. Half of a journal's cited articles were published more recently than the cited half-life.

Citing Half-life:The citing half-life is the median age of articles cited by the journal in the JCR year.

Eigenfactor Score: A measure of the journal’s total importance to the research community. Journals are rated according to the number of incoming citations, with citations from highly ranked journals weighted to make a larger contribution to the eigenfactor score. All else being equal, journals that generate higher impact in the field have higher Eigenfactor scores. Scores are scaled so that the sum of all journal scores is 100. (Find out more at:

Article Influence Score: Is a measure of the average influence of each of the journal's articles over the first five years after publication. The mean Article Influence Score is 1.00, therefore, an Article Influence Score greater than 1.00 indicates that the articles in a journal have an above-average influence. (Find out more at:

% Articles in Citable Items: shows how much of the journal’s published content is original research vs. reviews of the literature

Normalized Eigenfactor: is the Eigenfactor Score normalized, by rescaling the total number of journals in the JCR each year, so that the average journal has a score of 1. Journals can then be compared and influence measured by their score relative to 1. A value of 1 indicates average influence. A value higher than 1 indicates above average influence (e.g. NE = 4, means the journal is four times more influential than the average journal in Journal Citation Reports). Available in both the Journal Rankings grid and on Journal Profile Pages.

Average JIF Percentile: The Average Journal Impact Factor Percentile is based on the JIF Percentile (definition given below) - the JIF Percentile is displayed in the Rank table available below the Key Indictors.  The Average Journal Impact Factor Percentile takes the sum of the JIF Percentile for each category under consideration, and then calculates the average from those values. 


Rank tables (to view - scroll down below the Key Indicators table and select Rank from the left hand menu):

Rank: Rank shows the rank of a journal within each of its subject Categories.  The lower the rank, the better. 

Quartile: Quartile indicates where the journal rank lies within the subject category.  The lower the quartile number, the better. For example, a journal in Q1 means it is within the top 25% of journals in that subject Category.

Journal Impact Factor Percentile (JIF Percentile): is the Journal Impact Factor Percentile within the Subject Category (the journal's subject Category (or Categories) is shown in the top right hand corner above the Key Indicators table). JIF Percentiles are scaled from 1 to 100 (higher values indicate higher Impact Factor in relation to other journals in the Category). The metric allows you to assess the journal's standing in its own subject field.

But also, by factoring in a journal's impact factor within its specific subject field, as well as controlling for the size of the field, the JIF Percentile is normalized and so allows comparison between journals in different subject areas. For example, assessing the impact of a medical journal against an engineering journal in a deeper way than simply comparing their respective Journal Impact Factors.




Further help

Click on the Help option in the top right hand corner of JCR. The help pages are very detailed and give guidance on the best use of the Citation Reports.  See the videos posted below and the other training videos available at:


JCR Quick Tour Video

JCR Impact Factor and Article-Level Data

JCR Videos

Link to ISI Journal Citation Reports