Journal rank and Journal Impact Factor (JIF) are metrics used to judge the quality and influence of a scholarly publication. Journal rank focuses on the journal’s importance in its field or area of study, such as law. Journal Impact Factor, on the other hand, considers how influential a journal is overall.
Several different factors are taken into consideration when determining journal rank and impact factor, but citation is of main interest. Both journal rank and impact factor look closely at the number of citations that a journal has received to measure its quality and influence. For example, the Queen’s Law Journal would measure its JIF by taking the average number of citations that it has received in other scholarly publications in the last two years and dividing it by the number of “citable” publications (i.e., articles) that they have published in the last two years.
In short, both journal rank and impact factor are based on the belief that the more times that a journal is cited, the better its quality and, in turn, its impact on the field.
Some scholars consider journal rank or impact factor when they decide what journal to publish in. Whether you choose to do so is up to you.
Nevertheless, all researchers are encouraged to familiarize themselves with what journal rank and impact factor are, how they are calculated, and current discourse surrounding them before basing their publication decisions off them.
Familiarize yourself with Journal Impact Factor and rank with some introductory resources:
Metrics Toolkit: Helping you Navigate the Research Metrics Landscape - A toolkit on different research metrics, including Journal Impact Factor and Rank.
Understanding Scholarly Metrics – A guide from the Canadian Knowledge Research Network (CKRN) about metrics like journal rank, citation tracking, and h-index.
Research Metrics – Journal Impact Factor – Michigan State University has created a comprehensive introductory guide to research metrics, including impact factor.
Read up on journal rank and impact factor in relation to the study of law: