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The University of Massachusetts Amherst

HONORS 499C Bioterrorism: Interdisciplinary Perspective on International, Political & Scientific Challenges

Resources for annotated bibliography and other assignments

Keep in Mind

There is no single list or resource that comprehensively evaluates the quality of all journals. Below are several types of sources that you should consider consulting to help you come to an informed decision about the quality of a journal.

One way to easily avoid many low-quality journals is to use library databases. Most databases evaluate the quality of the journals before they select them to be indexed.


Metrics are an attempt to measure the value of journals, articles, and authors. Although not a direct measure of quality, metrics can indicate the importance of a journal in its field. Traditional metrics, like Impact Factor for journals and the h-index for authors, focus on citation data. Altmetrics measure other types of impact, including mentions in social media, news sources, and in policy documents.

  1. Type in the name of the journal, a standard journal abbreviation, or the journal's ISSN and hit enter or press the search button.
  2. Select the correct journal from the results list.
  3. Your journal and some metrics about it will be listed first.
  4. Scroll down to find the Journal Impact Factor.
  5. Keep scrolling down to Rank by Journal Impact Factor to see how the journal ranks compared to other journals in the same category.
  6. A newer feature is Journal Citation Relationships, which shows the top 20 journals that cite articles from this journal. 



Directories provide listings of journals and useful information about them, such as the name & location of publisher, and where the journal is indexed. Journals that are widely indexed, especially in reputable sources like Web of Science, Scopus, and Medline, are likely to be better established and of higher quality.

Open Access Journals

Open Access journals might require additional evaluation, although many of the questions to ask about OA journals can also be applied to traditionally published journals.


Articles may be retracted, or withdrawn, or corrected, or issued an expression of concern, for a variety of reasons. Some reasons may be simple mistakes, but others are due to deliberate research misconduct.

The Retraction Watch website began as a blog about retractions and has now created a searchable database of retracted articles.