Database of the Month: Journal Citation Reports (JCR)

Anyone who has ever submitted an article for publication in an academic journal has no doubt heard the phrase “impact factor”, but do you know what an impact factor is, how it is calculated, and where you can go to find a journal’s impact factor?  The Journal Citation Reports (JCR) answers those questions. JCR calculates and provides the impact factor for thousands of scholarly journals, helping you identify the top-tier journals in your field.

Understanding & Using Journal Impact Factor

JCR allows you to evaluate and compare journals using citation data drawn from 9,100 scholarly and technical journals from more than 2,200 publishers in over 78 countries. It includes all areas of science, technology, and social sciences.  JCR is published in two editions – JCR Science Edition and JCR Social Sciences Edition. JCR complements the Social Science Citation Index (SSCI) and Science Citation Index (SCI) databases.

Authors can use impact factor to identify the most appropriate, influential journals in which to publish, while students and researchers may use impact factor to discover the most important journals in a field.

“The journal Impact Factor is the average number of times articles from the journal published in the past two years have been cited in the JCR year. The Impact Factor is calculated by dividing the number of citations in the JCR year by the total number of articles published in the two previous years.”

A screenshot from the JCR

Other Metrics Included in JCR

JCR also includes the following impact and influence metrics:

  • Eigenfactor score (a measure of the overall value provided by all of the articles published in a given journal in a year)
  • Article Influence score (a measure of a journal’s prestige based on per article citations and comparable to Impact Factor)
  • Most highly cited journal in a field

More information about Impact factor, Eigenfactor and Article Influence scores can be found in the Help section of the JCR database.  For a great explanation of what the Journal Impact Factor (JIF) is and is not, I recommend reading

Holsapple, C. W. (2009). Journal Self-Citation II: The Quest for High Impact — Truth and Consequences?. Communications of AIS, 25, 11-19.

Connect to This Database

Journal Citation Reports (JCR) is included in the Library’s ISI Web of Knowledge subscription databases – Social Science Citation Index (SSCI) and Science Citation Index (SCI).  Access JCR here, or by selecting Social Science Citation Index (SSCI) or Science Citation Index (SCI) from the Databases page. Once in SSCI or SCI, click on the “Additional Resources” tab to get to the JCR Collections.

For additional faculty resources, see Nick Albaugh’s Publishing Resources for Faculty library research guide.


Database of the Month provides a very brief introduction to an important research database, highlighting key features of the database that you should know about. If you would like more information about this database (or any of the library’s databases) please contact the Reference Desk.  If you would like a demonstration of this database for a class, please contact our Coordinator of User Education, Elizabeth Galoozis.