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Journal Metrics: Web Based Resources

This guide describes what the journal impact factor (JIF or IF) is, criticisms of IF, how to use IF responsibly, and other journal IFs being developed by other organizations.

Google Scholar

In April, 2012, Google Scholar (GS) debuted their own metrics for ranking journals. is a link to the page that explains what these metrics are and how they were developed. The metrics are based on the h-index developed by Hirsh.  The metrics are h5-index, and the h5-median and are given for each publication.  GS also has inclusion and exclusion criteria which make the metrics more useful when using them in conjunction with the other metrics such as Web of Science or Scopus.

One note, GS states that the "Scholar Metrics are based on our index as it was on April 1st, 2012.  For ease of comparison, they are NOT updated as the Scholar index is updated."  This is in line with WoS Journal Citation Report which presents a two-year snapshot of a journal's publications.

Also, depending on what you are looking for and what statistics you need for a particular project, these metrics may mean that using the Publish or Perish (PoP) software to search GS for journal metrics unnecessary.  One reason is that PoP usually runs up against the 1000 article limit that GS imposes on search results.  Using GS with the 5 year range of publications will not present that problem.


Other Web Resources

MAS (Microsoft Academic Search)

Microsoft Academic Search (MAS) is a free academic search engine developed by Microsoft Research, which also serves as a test-bed for many research ideas in Data Mining, Named Entity Extraction and Disambiguation, Data Visualization, etc.  As a research prototype, the coverage of MAS is still very limited in certain domains. We appreciate your feedback and contribution.

Microsoft Academic Search provides many innovative ways to explore academic publications, authors, conferences, journals, organizations and keywords, connecting millions of scholars, students, librarians, and other users. (From the MAS website)

This large collection of data has also allowed users to create several innovative ways to visualize and explore academic papers, authors, conferences, and journals by using this Academic Map, Co-author graph and Citation graph.

MAS services include full paper search, author search, conference search, journal search and a visual explorer.  These are based on the search technology Microsoft has developed.  The search results (including displaying, ranking) are the results of applying this technology to publicly available information.  Microsoft does not warrant the accuracy of the search results.  According ot MAS, one should exercise ones own discretion and judgment when using MAS.

Woulter and Costas have listed the following Characteristics and Limitations:


  • All authors can be searched. It is not necessary to have an account or being registered in MAS.

  • APIs (application programming interfaces) are possible although with some restrictions. 

  • Several indicators can be obtained (Publications, Citations, g-index and h-index), as well as network figures of co-authors and citers.

  • The navigation is attractive, although somehow limited to the search of authors or particular publications.

  •  It is possible to search by: authors, journals, DOI, and research organizations (addresses).

  •  There is some normalization by organizations. It is even possible to compare research organizations in pairs. In such comparisons the persons working for those organizations are displayed as well.

  •  Data can be exported to reference manager software (EndNote, BibText and RefWorks), although the highest level for downloading publications is the author-level (it is not possible to download the publications of a research organization or a country).

  •  Some indicators are displayed for the different authors, journals and organization, most of them size-dependent (Publications, Citations, h-index, g-index).

  •  The coverage of journals is quite accurate: in a test search for ´Scientometrics – 2008´, we obtained 135 results in MAS compared to 131 results in the Web of Science; ´JASIST´ gave 221 results in MAS and 227 in WoS. This suggests that duplicates are tackled (at least better than in GS).

  •  Information on document types and keywords is provided.

  •  The profiles of the individual papers in some cases provide information on the "citation context" of the citing papers, which indicates the part of the text that was cited. This is a quite interesting feature because it enables the user to link bibliometric information to substantive information.



  • The identification of persons is less accurate than in GC. Authors tend to appear in more than one profile (e.g. Thed N. van Leeuwen; Marc de Jong), especially if the authors have used different names and/or have changed their research affiliation.

  • Chinese and very common names show important mistakes. For example Wei Chen of the university of Eindhoven appears with more than 600 publications –which is not correct - and a wrong photography. In reality she is a lady and in MAS a man’s photograph is shown.

  • Inaccuracy of the author-address linkage (e.g. that Eugene Garfield is linked to the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW)).

  • The coverage of citations is lower than for GS (or even Web of Science). In general fewer citations are counted for the publications.

  • The possibility of using APIs needs to be requested first. Anything that one builds based on MAS must be for non-commercial use only or it must be made available in a free version of one’s product. Also, each API call will return only 10 items per call. MAS explicitly mentions that one cannot use the API to crawl the entire corpus (this hinders the development of normalized indicators).

  • It is not clear if everything that appears in MAS is actually open access, or if they also include publications that are mentioned in other bibliographic websites.  If this is the case it would be more difficult (than in GS) to differentiate what is open access from what is not.

  • Also the policy of coverage is not clear and the journals, publishers, repositories, etc. that are covered are not explicitly mentioned. It is not possible to carry out searches by countries.

  • When the information is downloaded to the reference manager software, the information on citations is lost. The information on indicators is limited to size dependent indicators (publications, citations, g-index, h-index), although other indicators such as citing authors, number of co-authors, etc. are also displayed. Anyway, the calculation of other indicators (such as the number of citations per publication) would be quite straightforward.

  • Only 16 fields are considered and it is not clear how the publications are assigned to these fields.

 Currently MAS has three main limitations for a practical use as a research assessment tool:

1.  Lack of transparency in how the data is collected.

2.  The coverage is less exhaustive compared to GS or WoS and still very limited in certain domains.  This is a strong limitation of this tool.

3.  Lack of standard tools for downloading data beyond the author and paper levels.  Moreover, the number of citations is lost when the data is downloaded to reference management software.


Arnetminer (Academic Researcher Social Network Search)

Arnetminer is a tool initially designed as a research project in social influence analysis, social network ranking, and social network extraction to search and perform data mining operations against academic publications on the Internet.  It uses social network analysis to identify connections between researchers, conference, and publications.  This allows it to provide services such as expert finding, association search, course search, academic evaluation and topic modeling.  For the purposes of this Guide, the main interest is its conference analysis feature.  If one inputs the name of a conference or journal, the system will return who are the most active researchers on this journal, and the top-ranked papers.  However, it is not possible to get all the publications published in the journal, at least not in a straightforward fashion.  As this tool is developed, this section of the Guide will be updated.

 ACM Digital Library
Covers computing literature from the Association of Computing Machinery.

    After you find the article you wish to track, click on the "Cited by" tab to see if any other publications cite them.

      A free resource that focuses primarily on articles in the areas of computer and information science. It uses Autonomous Citation Indexing (ACI) to automatically create a citation index used for literature search and evaluation.

      Check the "Include Citations" box when conducting a search. The number of times an article is cited appears in the search results.  Click the link to see the list.

      A variety of full text databases ranging from general reference collections to subject-specific databases.

      Many (but not all) of the EBSCO databases include a feature for locating citing articles. When available, use the "Cited References" search option to find out if a particular author or work has been cited by others.

      Indexes the mathematical literature and has a special search feature called "Author Citations."

      First, click on the "Citations" tab at the top of the search box. Enter either the author's "last name" or "last name, first initial" in the search box. If more than one author matches the search, click on the scroll arrow in the box and select the appropriate author (you will only be able to select one author at a time from the list). You'll see a list of the author's publications that have been cited. In the left column labeled "Citations"is the number of times the publication has been cited by other publications in the MathSciNet database. To see what the citing publications are:

      • Click on the cited publication's number in the "Publications" column
      • On the record for the publication, near the upper right corner, will be a gray box with "From References" and "From Reviews" links
      • Click on these links to see the citing publications

      Covers bio-medical and life sciences journal articles.

      Pub Med links to citing articles found in the PubMed Central free collection of full text journals. In the right side bar of a record, look for the section labeled, "Cited by (a number) PubMed Central articles.

      Covers scientific, medical, and technical articles and books.

        A "Cited by" list is accessible by clicking through to individual articles from the search results and can be seen on the right hand side of the screen.

        A full text online collection of scientific, technological and medical journals, books and reference works. 

        Click "Cited By" on the detailed record page of an article.

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