Every discipline has its top ranked, widely recognized journals. These days you find several journals in various disciplines, including multi-disciplinary journals requesting for articles for publication with a fee. Such articles receive quick publication and are even very visible online. But the fact is that these journals are hardly recognized by serious academic institutions across the world. This is why it is very necessary for you to know the top rated and ranked journals in your discipline and strive to get published in them.
How are journals ranked?
Journal ranking is primarily based on impact factor. Impact Factor (IF) is used to measure the importance of a journal by calculating the number of times selected articles are cited within the last few years. The higher the impact factor, the more highly ranked the journal. This is one of the major tools used to compare journals in a subject category.
“High-impact journals” are those considered to be highly influential in their fields. A journal’s impact factor is a measure of the frequency with which an average article in that journal has been cited in a particular year.
So you can see that journal ranking is very essential in any discipline. Journal ranking is widely used in academic circles in the evaluation of an academic journal’s impact and quality. Journal rankings are basically aimed at reflecting the place of a journal within its field, the relative difficulty of being published in that journal, and the prestige associated with it.
Journal citation metrics help you identify the highly cited journals in your field. They can be sourced from journal ranking tools and publisher websites.
The Journal Citation Report (JCR) is also a tool that gives you an idea of where specific journals are placed in terms of ranking. The JCR is an annual publication which provides information about academic journals in natural sciences and social sciences. This report is a publication by Clarivate Analytics which contains an analysis of the impact factor of a journal, thereby providing the specific journal’s high visibility, performance, and a ‘rich array of publisher-independent data’ relevance. The report is based on citations of articles is specific journals, among other indices for analysis. Most top Universities across the world base their assessment of articles for promotion on journals contained in the JCR. The JCR has been integrated with the Web of Science and is accessed from the Web of Science-Core Collections. The JCR aggregates the meaningful connections of citations created by the research community through data, metrics and analysis of the world’s high-quality academic journals. Only serious and well organized academic journals are selected for ranking in the first place. The report is primarily based on impact factors of the journals analyzed. It provides yearly rankings of science and social science journals, in the subject categories relevant for the journal (and there may be more than one).
Thomson Reuter’s Journal Citation Reports (JCR) also includes a ranking of journals. The top 25% of journals in a particular category are placed in Q1, the next in Q2 and so on. The JCR Impact Factor table includes the Quartile and Journal Impact Factor (JIF) Percentile for each year.
Communication journals here refer to journals published on various aspects of communication, not just mass communication and media studies. This includes journals in such specialized areas as public opinion, intergroup relations, human communication, applied linguistics, among many other disciplines. There are several of such journals but only a few meet the ranking qualifications. You also need to know the journals in your field that are in the first quartile (Q1), second quartile (Q2), third quartile (Q3) or fourth quartile (Q4). The Journal Citation Report provides Quartile rankings derived for each journal in each of its subject categories according to which quartile of the Impact Factor (IF) distribution the journal occupies for that subject category. Q1 denotes the top 25% of the IF distribution, Q2 for middle-high position (between top 50% and top 25%), Q3 middle-low position (top 75% to top 50%), and Q4 the lowest position (bottom 25% of the IF distribution).
Scopus is one of the world’s most recognized indexing platforms. It is an abstract and citation database which was launched in 2004. Scopus is a source-neutral abstract and citation database curated by independent subject matter experts. It places powerful discovery and analytics tools in the hands of researchers, librarians, institutional research managers and funders.
Scopus indexing focus covers nearly 36,377 titles (22,794 active titles and 13,583 inactive titles) from approximately 11,678 publishers, of which 34,346 are peer-reviewed journals in top-level subject fields: life sciences, social sciences, physical sciences, and health sciences. It covers three types of sources: book series, journals, and trade journals. All journals covered in the Scopus database, regardless of who they are published under, are reviewed each year to ensure high quality standards are maintained. Scopus provides four basic types of quality measure for each title; they are h-index, Cite Score, SJR (SCImago Journal Rank) and SNIP (Source Normalized Impact per Paper). The h–index is an author-level metric that attempts to measure both the productivity and citation impact of the publications of a scientist or scholar. The index is based on the set of the scientist’s most cited papers and the number of citations that they have received in other publications. It is designed to improve upon simpler measures such as the total number of citations or publications. A research scholar, J.E. Hirsch, reckons that after 20 years of research, an h-index of 20 is good, 40 is outstanding, and 60 is truly exceptional. The advantage of the h-index is that it combines productivity (i.e., number of papers produced) and impact (number of citations) in a single number. SCImago Journal Rank (SJR indicator) is a measure of scientific influence of scholarly journals that accounts for both the number of citations received by a journal and the importance or prestige of the journals where such citations come from. The Source Normalized Impact per Paper, SNIP is an indicator that measures the average citation impact of the publications of a journal.
Scopus coordinates and provides superior data quality and coverage, sophisticated analytics and advanced technology in one solution that is ready to combat predatory publishing, optimize analytic powers and researcher workflows, and empower better decision making. Using sophisticated tools and analytics, Scopus generates precise citation results, detailed researcher profiles, and insights that drive better decisions, actions and outcomes. In addition to protecting the integrity of the scholarly record, Scopus helps bolster institutional research performance, rank and reputation. This is why Scopus is a highly regarded and respected indexing platform across the world.
Ranking Conference Proceedings
You will notice that conference proceedings are ranked alongside journals anytime you check the top journals in any discipline. In fact, a number of conference proceedings rank far above some respected journals even in the field of communication. This is papers published in serious conference proceedings pass through the same rigorous assessment process as papers published in high impact journals. Very serious conferences ensure that accepted papers are thoroughly assessed and the contents have ground-breaking findings. They get cited and generate high impact factor. So in the list of journals we are providing you will also see conference proceedings which have maintained a high impact over the years.
Now that you know the background to how journals are ranked, here’s a list of top 50 communication journals in the world, according to Scopus-assisted ranking.
Top 50 Journals in the World
For more details, see Scimago Journal and Country Rank