In a recent blog post entitled Journal Metrics, Anna Sharman a freelance editor, proofreader and scientific publishing consultant posted a very useful update of this important topic. Given that both faculty and college administrators are increasingly interested in journal metrics when applying for and evaluating tenure and promotion, librarians are being asked about the various methods of analysis. Ms. Sharman conveniently summarizes six measures of journal impact: the impact factor (IF), 5-year IF, Google Scholar Metrics, SCImago Journal Rank (SJR), Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) and Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) ranking. She admits that “most researchers get to know the IF fairly quickly when they start to read journals.” But other journal metrics are not as familiar and her efforts will be welcome by researcher who want to be more fully informed.
Ms. Sharman not only provides descriptions and relevant links for these journal metrics, she also offers comparison of journals using these metrics for “97 of the higher-impact biomedical journals” and then puts “them into a Google Docs spreadsheet, which can be viewed here (or on Google Docs directly here).” In addition, she discussed a few journals that she discovered “have anomalous patterns.” For example, according to her findings “Ca: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians has a very high IF, SJR and SNIP, but comes out lower on Google Scholar metrics.” She offers some possible explanations, but quite openly asks readers if they can “explain any of the anomalous patterns mentioned here.”