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Publishing: Quality indicators

This guide is designed to assist you with publishing academic research, including finding the right journal, journal impact factors, ERA, open access, publisher and data requirements, questions around copyright and tips from the experts.

Quality indicators

cog tick iconIndicator Where can I find this? Why is this useful?
Inclusion on curated lists Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) 2018 Journal List 
  • Funding and reputation - articles need to be on the list to count for the ERA
  • Criteria - journals are scholarly and contain peer reviewed original research
  • Australian relevance - list compiled in consultation with universities and peak bodies, and includes titles where Australian researchers are actively publishing
  Australian Business Deans Council Journal Quality List
  • Recognised Australian list for assessing quality of scholarly business journals (accounting, marketing, economics, etc.)

UniSA Quality Journal List

UniSA Publisher Quality List

Indexed in prestigious citation databases

Clarivate Analytics Master Journal List

Essential Science Indicators Journal List

  • Publications indexed by Clarivate Analytics' Web of Science Core Collection must meet selection criteria
  • Articles need to be in this subset of journals indexed by Web of Science to be included in Essential Science Indicators - Highly Cited Papers, Hot Papers and Highly Cited Researchers
  Scopus Sources
Peer reviewed

Journal's own website

UniSA databases

Cabell's Directories

Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory

  • Peer review is a major indicator of quality in academic publishing
  • Some databases and lists only include peer reviewed journals
  • Cabell's Directories (selection policy) and Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory indicate which journals are peer reviewed but lists may be out-of-date and it is always best to check the journal site itself
Citation metrics and rank in subject category  Journal Citation Reports (JCR)
  • Find journal metrics including impact factor and rank in category for approx. 12,300 journals
  • A standard source of journal performance metrics for certain disciplines but with minimal coverage of journals in others (especially the humanities)
  • Find journal metrics including CiteScore, SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) and rank in category
  • Broader journal coverage than JCR with approx. 23,450 titles
  SCImago Journal & Country Rank
Indexed in key disciplinary databases UniSA databases
  • Inclusion indicates relevance to discipline
  • Discoverable by other scholars
Acceptance rates Cabell's Directories
  • Not available for all journals - Cabell's provides acceptance rates for some titles
  • The lower the acceptance rate, the higher the perceived quality of the journal

Citation metrics - how are they calculated?

CiteScore 2019 methodology

Based on Scopus data, the CiteScore is an indicator of the average number of citations a document will receive over a four year publication window. The CiteScore 2019 is calculated by dividing the number of citation received in 2016-2019 to articles, reviews, conference papers, book chapters and data papers by the number of publications indexed by Scopus and published in the same time period.

How the impact factor is calculated

How SJR is calculated

Factors that influence metrics

When assessing the quality of a particular publishing avenue (whether journal, book publisher or other) it's best to use a combination of quantitative and qualitative factors to inform your decision.

Citation analysis does not tell the full story. These are just some of the factors that can affect citation metrics:

  • a highly ranked journal might have published just a few papers attracting a lot of attention, with many others uncited
  • a journal may have received a high number of citations because it published one or more controversial or refuted articles

Looking for more on metrics?

Visit UniSA's Metrics and Impact Guide: