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Compass Newsletter Masthead
   Volume II, Issue 4
May 2006   

Now on the web: Journal Citation Reports

Librarians interested in identifying best buy journals and “bibliometricians” intent upon unlocking the mysteries behind trends in interdisciplinary scholarship will not be the only ones pleased to see the addition of the web version of ISI’s Web of Knowledge Journal Citation Reports Web:  Science and Social Sciences Editions to the Falvey subscription database collection.

Faculty, graduate students and postdoctoral researchers across the disciplines strive to contribute to the store of knowledge by having their research read by peers, used by the academic community and built upon by successors. In short, they want their contribution to make the greatest impression possible, not in the least because tenure decisions, promotions, grants, awards and salaries depend upon it. While not likely to supplant the advice of peers, JCR Web is a great tool for monitoring trends in the importance of journal titles and targeting journals most likely to maximize scholarly influence.

JCR includes citation data for original research and literature reviews appearing in more than 7500 scholarly and technical journals published around the world in the sciences and social sciences. Individual journal titles, groups of journals by predetermined subject category or custom-marked lists of journals can be evaluated.

The heart of JCR is in calculated impact factors, immediacy indexes and citation half lives. The impact factor is a measure of relative citation frequency. The most important journals in a discipline have high impact factors. The immediacy index is a measure of how quickly articles are cited. Journals publishing cutting-edge research will have high immediacy indexes. The cited half life is the median age of articles cited and the citing half life is the median age of citing articles.  

Journal analysis is transparent and straightforward. Source data and calculations are shown in tables and, for the visually oriented, graphical displays are available. Best of all, a Help Index does a super job of explaining what is being measured, how calculations are achieved and what cautions should be observed in use. 

You can link to JCR Web by going to the library home page and selecting Databases by Title.


Contributed by Linda Hauck, a reference librarian at Falvey.