Boston College University Libraries

Assessing Journal Quality: Home

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Introduction to Assessing Journals

Changing publishing models, including the rise of open access journals, have reshaped the ways in which scholars share and use journal articles. More than ever, understanding the criteria for assessing journal quality is critical in determining the overall value of any publication.

How does one know that something is of good scholarly worth? Traditional measures, such as peer review, impact factors, and the reputation of the journal, continue to be hallmarks within the academic community. Yet in addition to these standards, new techniques of journal ranking and a rising interest in article-level assessment have emerged. Increasingly, alternative metrics (sometimes referred to as “altmetrics”) are being considered in evaluating journal quality, tracking the diffusion of scholarship through non-traditional sources such as blogs, social media, and other online systems.

How This Impacts You

Whether you are a student or faculty member, it is important to understand the current standards for assessing journal quality. Assessing the scholarly worth of a particular journal or article can help you determine its merits and relevance to your academic research and distinguish between different sources.

In addition to evaluating other authors' work, the perceived quality of a journal can also influence where you choose to publish your own work. Factors such as impact and peer review can be used in determining new hires and tenure cases by colleges and universities.