Skip to main content
Wartburg College homepage  

Biology Courses & Research

Start here to find the research you need!


History of Science & Society

Measuring Value in Research

Finding high-quality information for a literature review involves more than using the “peer-reviewed” limiter when searching in databases. Researchers have to know which journals and authors are experts. One way to measure value in academic research is through impact factor. Impact factor is a mathematical formula that determines how much impact a journal, an article and/or an author has had on a field. The impact factor is determined by the number of times others have cited that research. More citations = more impact. 

Journal Impact Factor =      Number of articles cited         

                                                Number of articles published


Author Impact Factor = Number of articles cited by other researchers

                                                   Number of articles published


Article Impact = Total number of citations


Researchers can determine which articles have a higher impact by comparing the number of times an article has been cited. Articles with more citations have a greater impact on others’ research.

Tools for finding Impact

The premiere source for determining journal impact factor is Journal Citation Reports by ISI Web of Knowledge. Others have created free web-based citation tracking tools accessible to researchers who cannot afford a subscription to JCR. Below is a list of these tools.


Eigenfactor determines journal impact factor as well as the value according to the citations compared with cost of subscription. The top 10 lists within disciplines are particularly helpful.


SCImago Journal & Country Rank “is a portal that includes the journals and country scientific indicators developed from the information contained in the Scopus® database (Elsevier B.V.). These indicators can be used to assess and analyze scientific domains. This platform takes its name from the SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) indicator, developed by SCImago from the widely known algorithm Google PageRank™. This indicator shows the visibility of the journals contained in the Scopus® database from 1996.”

GoogleScholar: Use GoogleScholar to see the number of citations per article. Although Google’s algorithms for determining number of citations is flawed, it can give you a general sense of how many people have read and used an article in their research. 

Commercializing Research

Articles or organizations

Websites to Explore