One way that journals are evaluated is by their metrics. Metrics are quantitative measures designed to help evaluate research outputs. Some of these metrics, such as an h-index, apply to an author. Other metrics, such as journal acceptance rates and impact factor, relate to the journal itself. While these metrics should not be used alone to assess the quality of a journal, they are one option available to you.
As you're navigating your first publications and networking in academia, you might hear about an elusive metric called "impact factor." But what is impact factor, and how does it affect your work?
Impact factor is one of various research metrics that scholars use to assess each other's work. However, impact factor has nothing to do with an individual author or article's impact and everything to do with journals themselves.
This metric is found by dividing the number of citations a journal receives in a given year by the number of publications it has published in its previous two years. Impact factor can give authors a snapshot of what their own citation rates might look like in a given journal, but it is only one of many research metrics used by researchers (and a variable one, as well!).
Impact per Publication (IPP): Number of citations this year for publications published in the past three years, divided by the number of publications in that set.
Source Normalized Impact per Publication (SNIP): Number of citations this year for publications published in the past three years, divided by the number of publications in that set and then normalized to correct for differences in citation practices between scientific fields.
These metrics are reported by CWTS Journal Indicators:
CiteScore: Total citations received in the past year for publications released over the past 4 years, divided by the number of publications released in that period.
% Cited: The percent of total articles within a publication which were cited at least once.
These metrics, along with others (total citations, SNIP, etc) are shared in Scopus Sources:
Note that although there are a few options for getting this data, it is specific to the journal, not to you as an author or your work.
This article from Nature Index shares the following principles as alternatives for measuring quality:
There are various metrics used to assess the impact and relevancy of academic works. Altmetrics track the impact that an online publication receives online in news stories, blogs, downloads, Tweets, Wikipedia citations, etc. Altmetrics are useful for evaluating both traditional scholarly outputs, such as research papers, and for newer formats such as software, online research notebooks, podcasts, and more.
For example, it is common to track the number of views, downloads, and citations for datasets or articles shared in an institutional repository.
Impactstory is a tool that you can use to discover who's using your research and what people are saying about it. It also provides insights such as how much of your research is open access, how it's being shared, and more.