Comparing the influence of ecology journals using citation-based indices: making sense of a multitude of metrics

Natural Resources and the Environment, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH, United States
Subject Areas
impact factor, Eigenfactor, e-index, h-index, Article Influence, Citation metrics, SNIP, SJR, bibliometrics, scientometric indices
© 2014 Hocking
This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Cite this article
Hocking DJ. 2014. Comparing the influence of ecology journals using citation-based indices: making sense of a multitude of metrics. PeerJ PrePrints 2:e43v2


The links among scholarly citations creates a tremendous network that reveals patterns of influence and flows of ideas. The systematic evaluation of the networks can be used to create aggregate measures of journal influence. To understand the citation patterns and compare influence among ecology journals, I complied 11 popular metrics for 110 ecology journals: Journal Impact Factor (JIF), 5-year Journal Impact Factor (JIF), Eigenfactor, Article Influence (AI), Source-Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP), SCImago Journal Report (SJR), h-index, hc-index, e-index, g-index, and AR-index. All metrics were positively correlated among ecology journals; however, there was still considerable variation among metrics. Annual Review of Ecology Evolution, and Systematics, Trends in Ecology and Evolution, and Ecology Letters were the top three journals across metrics on a per article basis. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, Ecology, and Molecular Ecology had the greatest overall influence on science, as indicated by the Eigenfactor. There was much greater variability among the other metrics because they focus on the mostly highly cited papers from each journal. Each influence metric has its own strengths and weaknesses, and therefore its own uses. Researchers interested in average influence of articles in a journal would be best served by referring to the AI scores or possibly SJR values.

Supplemental Information

Citation metric data for 111 ecology journals

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DOI: 10.7287/peerj.preprints.43v2/supp-1