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Choosing & Evaluating Journals, Publishers & Conferences: Statistical Measures

This guide provides information on choosing and evaluating journals for possible publication.

Statistical Measures of Journal Quality

Two statistical measures of journal quality are the circulation and the acceptance / rejection rate, although they are not always readily available. This page provides information on finding these statistical measures.



Circulation is sometimes cited as an indicator of journal quality. However, given the fact that many libraries now subscribe to journals through "big deals" (package subscriptions offered by major publishers), circulation may not be as important a factor.

Circulation information is sometimes available through Ulrich's International Periodicals or journal websites. It is also possible to get information on the number of libraries that own a title from WorldCat. To get the information from WorldCat, search the title or ISSN and then view the holding libraries (select the option to view all holding libraries). Note that some libraries may no longer subscribe to some titles that they formerly owned.

NOTE OF CAUTION: Libraries at several major universities decided to add all titles from the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) to their catalogs. At one time, DOAJ included some titles from disreputable publishers. DOAJ has recently announced new criteria for inclusion in its database and asked all participating publishers to reapply. This process will weed out some of the disreputable publishers. Some disreputable publishers state that they are "indexed" by using logos for these universities and DOAJ as indicators of quality. Do not be fooled by publishers that state they are indexed by a particular university, because their title may have been added based on its inclusion in DOAJ.

Acceptance / Rejection Rates

The Acceptance rate is the number of articles that are accepted for publication divided by the total number of articles received by the editors. Some journals report this information on their websites. It is also available in some directories, including the MLA Directory of Periodicals (which is part of the MLA International Bibliography).