There are several measures to determine the quality of your research output. These include publishing in peer reviewed journals, using journal ranking lists and tracking citation data.

Peer-reviewed journals

Quality journals are usually identified as those which have been peer-reviewed. Peer-review is a process of process of checking an author's scholarly work by others who are experts in the same field before they are accepted for publication.

To identify peer-reviewed journals:

  • Search Ullrich's Periodicals Directory to see if a journal title has been peer reviewed.
  • Check the editorial policy of individual journals, e.g. the Journal of Physiotherapy
  • Thomson produces a free Master Journal List of journals indexed in its databases, which are peer reviewed.
  • Many databases allow searches to be limited to peer reviewed journals only; check the online 'help' of individual databases for instructions on how to do this.

Journal Rankings

Journal rankings can also be used to identify quality journals.

Discipline-specific journal rankings lists are available:

Citation analysis

To find out when or how many times your publication has been cited, you need to check the available citation data.

The Web of Knowledge is a prime source of citation data, comprising four databases: the Science, Social Sciences, and Arts and Humanities Citation Indexes. Users are able to search current and retrospective information from approximately 8,500 of the most prestigious, high impact research journals in the world. It also lists how many times an article has been cited and who has sited it.

  • Go to the Web of Science database
  • Click Select a database
  • Select Cited Reference Search
  • Select the relevant citation database (all are selected as the default)
  • Enter the author's name, cited work or year. (Cited work refers to the publication in which the work appeared).
  • Click Search to display the Cited Reference selection page, which lists the references that match the search criteria.
  • From the Cited Reference selection page you can
    • Select references of interest by clicking individual checkboxes
    • Click on the Select Page button (which selects all the references on the current page) or
    • Click on the Select All button (which selects all references for that name)
  • Click  Finish Search to retrieve the articles that cite the selected references.
  • OR click on View Record to see full details of the reference including an abstract.


Google Scholar also provides citation data for journal articles, but generally will return fewer results than Web of Knowledge. However, Google Scholar will also find citations in non-traditional formats such as academic web pages and pre-prints and will often identify new citations more quickly than Web of Knowledge.

  • Go to Google Scholar
  • Select Advanced Scholar Search (at the end of the search box)
  • Enter the author’s name in the Return articles written by field
  • Specify the relevant dates in Return articles published between field
  • Select the subject area
  • Click Search Scholar
  • If the reference has been cited by others, a Cited by link will appear below the citation.

For help using any of the tools mentioned in this page, please contact your Liaison Librarian .