Publication Details

This paper was originally published as: Tome, L & Lipu, S, Indicators of Journal Quality, R & D Discussion Paper #6, University of Wollongong Library, 2004, 14p.


Some of the methodologies used to assess journal quality include citation analysis, peer analysis, circulation and coverage in indexing or abstracting services. (Ali, Young et al. 1996, p.41). Both quantitative and qualitative measures such as these are widely discussed in the literature. From a study conducted in the UK, Swan and Brown (1999) found that authors tended to consider firstly the reputation of the journal by using the impact factor, followed by international reach and coverage by abstracting and indexing services. They also found that “Scientists are much more concerned about the availability of an electronic version of the journal than are workers in the arts. Publication speed is also significant to scientists, particularly chemists, whereas it is much less important to people working in social sciences or the humanities”. (Swan and Brown 1999 cited in Houghton, Steele et al. 2003, p.62). In Australia: “Using simple quantitative publications measures in research evaluation and the distribution of funding in Australia has recently been criticised by the Australian Academy of Social Sciences (Mann 2002), Academy of Science (Barber 2002) and the Academy of the Humanities, particularly in relation to publication patterns and the impact on early career researchers. It appears to be leading to increased publication in ‘second tier’ journals” (Houghton, Steele et al. 2003, p.63). Researchers need, therefore, to consider the various methodologies appropriate to their discipline and be aware of the tools available to assist in identifying ‘quality’ journals in which to publish. This report focuses on the measures used by the Institute of Scientific Information (ISI) and the role of peer review as two primary indicators. It includes: • an overview of ISI • a section on peer review – including DEST and Ulrich’s • a UK perspective • an appendix of articles from non-scientific disciplines • an appendix of journal impact in relation to library holdings