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Evaluating Journals Using Journal Metrics: Glossary


H-Index was developed by Jorge E. Hisrch, Professor of Physics at the University of California, San Diego, in 2005 as a way to measure a scholar’s research output.  This index basically states that an author has published at least h articles that have been cited at least h times.  This tool is designed to be used when comparing authors within the same discipline.

Here is an example of how this index is calculated:

Dr. X has published 6 articles (A-F).  You will need to first rank those articles in order of the number of times they were cited:

A(17)  B(15)  C(9)  D(5)  E(4)  F(2)

Find the number of citations that is equal to or is closest to without going over the number or articles published.

In this case that is 5.  From the 6 articles, Article D was cited 5 times, Article C was cited 9 times (which is over the number of articles he published).  Therefore the h-index for Dr. X is 5.

h5-index is the h-index limited to the past five years.


The number of articles that have at least the h-Index of citations.  In the example above, the h-Core for Dr. X is 4 since there are 4 articles that have been cited at least 5 times.

h5-core is the h-core limited to the past five years.


The median for the h-Core number.  In the example we are using, the h-Median is 12, the median from articles A, B, C, D.

h5-median is the h-median limited to the past five years.

InCites Journal Citation Reports

A tool provided by Clarivate Analytics (formerly Thomson Reuters) that evaluates and compares journals.  It takes citation data drawn from approximately 12,000 scholarly and technical journals from more than 3,300 publishers in over 80 countries. It is the leader for providing citation and publication data on journals across the science, technology, and social science disciplines.

Journal Impact Factor (JIF)

Ranking of journals determined by InCites based on the average number of citations to articles in any one particular journal over the past two years.  

For example, a Journal Impact Factor of 1.0 means that, on average, the articles published in the past year or two have been cited one time.  A JIF of 3.5 means that articles published in the past couple years have been cited on the average of three and a half times. This figure can including citing works published in the same journal which some believe can skew a journals ranking in their favor.

JIF Quartile

InCites determines the Quartile ranking of journals by taking the JIF of the journal and dividing it by the number journals in that category to find x.  They are then distributed among as follows:

Q1: 0.0 < x ≤ 0.25

Q2: 0.25 < x ≤ 0.5

Q3: 0.5 < x ≤ 0.75

Q4: 0.75 <x

For more information on Quartile ranking see the InCites JCR Help page.

Review articles

Review articles are articles that they summarize current research on a particular topic.  Since they survey previously published research and cite a large number of articles they can have great impact in journal rankings.


Self-citing is the practice of an author citing his or her other published works, or the practice of a journal citing its own previously published articles.

Authors may need to cite previous work, especially if the current research builds on it. However, if self-citing is excessive and used to boost journal rankings or the visibility of the author, then self-citing becomes an issue.  

Editors may request authors to add more citations to articles published in that journal, known as citation coercion. Journals who are discovered using self-citation practices may be suspended from the Journal Citation Report or other journal rankings, for several years.

Information taken from: