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Lehigh University Libraries - Library Guides

Authors' Rights and Publishing: Peer Review/Impact Factor


A publication is considered scholarly if it is authored by academic or professional researchers and targeted at an academic or related audience. Before being considered for publication most scholarly articles will be refereed or peer-reviewed by experts working largely in the subject field. Specific refereeing practices vary among journals.


Journal Impact

The issues surrounding a journal's impact can be controversial, but here are some commonly-used methods for determining this:

Citation Analysis

Citation analysis involves counting how many times a paper or researcher is cited by other scholars in the field. This performance measure assumes that influential scientists and important works are cited more often than others. The ISI Web of Knowledge Journal Citations Reports database is often used for this purpose.

Acceptance Or Rejection Rates

Many journals and publishers of journals display an acceptance or rejection rate on their web pages. Assuming that only the best quality articles pass through the editorial selection criteria, journals that have low acceptance rates for articles may often be the most prestigious in their field.Cabell's can help determine this for some disciplines, or contact the journal's editors.

EigenfactorTM and Article InfluenceTM Scores

EigenfactorTM scores and Article InfluenceTM scores can help adjust for citation differences across disciplines. Different disciplines have different standards for citation and different time scales on which citations occur. The average article in a leading cell biology journal might receive 10-30 citations within two years; the average article in leading mathematics journal would do very well to receive 2 citations over the same period. Using the whole citation network automatically accounts for these differences and allows better comparison across research areas.  These scores are also available as a choice within the Journal Citations Reports database.