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Publishing Strategy

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Impact factors: Google Scholar

Impact factors: Google Scholar

An alternative to both Web of Science and Scopus to analyze and compare journals by citation indicators is Google Scholar. Google Scholar is different from Web of Science and Scopus in that it doesn't have the kind of structured form as these two databases. Web of Science and Scopus describes the indexed publication by structured metadata, such as keywords, journal categories, publication types, as well as having a selection process of the sources they index based on qualitative measures. Google Scholar indexes academic publications from journal databases, books, reports, conference papers, postgraduate and student theses, and patents.

Since the number of sources that Google Scholar indexes are much larger than what is indexed in Web of Science and Scopus, the number of citations received is also larger. As citations can be said to be an indication of impact, the citation score in Google Scholar displays a broader impact as it collects citations from such a wide variety of sources. On the other hand, Google Scholar doesn't have the stricter refereed level of the citing sources as Web of Science and Scopus have.

Please note that the journal indicators from Google Scholar cannot be compared with the ones from other databases, even if the indicator is the same since the indicator values are dependent on the data contained in the specific database.


Google Scholar - Metrics (free resource)

Google Scholar has a function called Metrics which you reach via the side menu, or so-called "hamburger menu" (three horizontal lines), in the upper left corner of the database.

A screenshot showing the alternative Metrics in Google Scholar.                  


From the Metrics function you can get the following journal lists: 

  • Classic papers
    Shows the 10 highest-ranked articles based on citations in Google Scholar within one of the 294 research areas of the database. The articles should at least be 10 years old, hence the name "classic".
  • Top publications
    Shows a ranking list over the 100 most cited papers from the latest five years.
  • Categories
    Via the top-100 list select Categories you can get top-20 lists of journals within each of the 294 research areas of the database.

          A screenshot from Google scholar showing statistics.

Google Scholar uses two different journal indicators:

  • H5-index
    The h5-index is based on the h-index which can be described by the following example: A journal with, for example, an H index of 100 has published 100 articles which each has received at least 100 citations. You should only compare the H index of journals within the same field. The h5-index is only looking at articles published in a journal the latest five years.
  • H5-median
    The h5-median for a journal is the median number of citations for articles that make up the journal's h5-index


Google Scholar Metrics - Overview