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Spanish Language, Literature, and Culture: Publicar

Impact Factor and Other Metrics

The word "Impact" in large font

When talking about the metrics for articles and journals, it's tempting to conflate impact with quality. However, citation and altmetrics do not measure the quality of research; that is what peer review is designed to do. Instead, they are indicators for how articles, books, or other scholarly products affect the world. Metrics like the Journal Impact Factor or the h-index use citations to do this, while altmetrics use data from social media platforms like Twitter, Mendeley, and Facebook. There are many ways to measure the impact or influence of an article or journal. Our Data Management Librarians can help. Email:

You may have heard of a journal's impact factor. Though not a measure of quality of an article, the impact factor measures the frequency articles are cited within particular journals. It is commonly referred to in the science and social science fields. The link below from the University of Virginia Claude Moore Health Sciences Library explains how to use the Journal Citation Reports database to find out a journal's impact factor. I'm also including a link to the JCR database below.

Alternative ways of measuring a journal or article's influence are becoming increasingly available through advances in technology. Below are some brief overviews on what is referred to as altmetrics. I'm also including a link to a free tool from an altmetrics company, Altmetric. Their Bookmarklet allows you to instantly find out if there is buzz about an article in social media and other article-level metrics.

Publishing OA

When the time comes to publish your work, you may wish to consider a publisher's stance on open access. To check if a journal is published OA (OA Movement logo, open lock) or partially OA, you can use the link from the previous box to the DOAJ. To check on a publisher's copyright and OA policies, use the link below to the SHERPA/RoMEO database. I've also included a link to Grand Valley's guidance on choosing a quality OA journal.

Additionally, you may hear that OA journals have less quality than traditional journals, or that they are not peer-reviewed. There is a healthy debate and there is also some misinformation out there. There are also challenges for some new faculty who are applying for promotion & tenure, a process that may not recognize alternative ways of measuring impact of those articles that have been published OA. I'm including a video from Erin McKiernan who discusses some myths about OA and OA publishing for those beginning a career as a researcher.

CU Scholar

CU Scholar is a digital repository supporting the research and teaching mission of the University of Colorado Boulder. It is intended to serve as a platform for preserving the research activities of members of the CU-Boulder community, and for promoting that research to the general public. CU Scholar is maintained by the University Libraries as a service to the community of scholars worldwide. 

You can view a video of the entire submission process here: