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The University of Massachusetts Amherst

NUTRITN 741 - Methods in Nutrition Research

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. Click on the arrow next to Select Journals and start typing the name of your journal. When you see the full title of your journal, click on it. 
  2. Scroll down and click the Submit button.
  3. Your journal and some metrics about it will be listed in the right panel. 
  4. Look at the Journal Impact Factor.
  5. Click over to Categories by Rank to check out the Median Impact Factor. This will give you a number to compare the Impact Factor for your journal to (if it is higher, your journal has a higher impact than half the journals in that category).
  6. Click on the journal title to learn more about the journal and see its Impact Factor over time.



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Articles may be retracted, or withdrawn, or corrected, or issued an expression of concern, for a variety of reasons.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.