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Prepare for promotion and tenure

April 2, 2014 – The library has several services to support faculty in the promotion and tenure process. Cited reference searching can help measure your research impact when preparing dossiers for promotion and tenure. We also have tools to determine high-impact journals in which to publish.

Citation counts

The value of citation counts is a matter of controversy. Even after self-citations have been eliminated, persons or committees responsible for evaluation must decide how much importance to place on this measure.

It is important to bear in mind that the depth to which Web of Science covers academic disciplines varies greatly. Coverage is extensive in the sciences, and especially in the biomedical fields. Engineering and the social sciences are covered less comprehensively, and coverage in the humanities is highly selective. (Other databases supporting cited reference searching may be needed.) Another important factor is that the typical lag time between source document and subsequent citation may vary by discipline. Even within a given discipline, different types of articles also have different citation patterns.

The impact of other publications like books, conference papers, software, and data sets are starting to be measured, though not as thoroughly as journal articles.

Journal impact factor

The journal impact factor is a measure of the frequency that the "average article" published in a scholarly journal has been cited in a two or five year period. It is often used to measure or describe the importance of a particular journal in an academic discipline. Authors can use impact factors to evaluate journals to decide which to publish in.


The h-index can measure an author's relative research impact, as opposed to a simple citation count. The h-index is based on the set of the author's most cited publications and the number of cited references those publications have received. The h-index is an alternative to the journal impact factor metric.

Eigenfactor and normalized Eigenfactor

The Eigenfactor score of a journal is an estimate of the percentage of time that library users spend with that journal. An Eigenfactor is based on the number of cited references, with citations from highly ranked journals weighted to make a larger contribution than those from poorly ranked journals. The Normalized Eigenfactor (NE) converts a journal's Eigenfactor into a multiplicative score centered around 1, such that, if a journal received an NE score of 2, it would be twice as influential as the average journal in the network.

Book reviews

A book review is an article that is published in a newspaper, magazine, or scholarly work that describes and evaluates a book. Keep in mind while searching for reviews of a book that many books are published each year, only a small fraction of them are reviewed. Reviews are written for different purposes and they will vary in terms of content and depth of evaluation. Since reviews are printed in many different kinds of publications, you may need to search several sources.

Selecting a journal to publish in

Finding the right journal in which to publish your article can be a difficult process. Here are some criteria to consider and sources for this information:

  • Subject area(s) covered by the journal (particularly when the research is cross-discipline)
  • Types of articles published (original research, review, case study)
  • Reputation of the journal (impact factor, size of readership/open access, peer review, quality of accepted articles and authors, indexing level)
  • Audience of journal
  • Time to publication