Skip to Main Content

The Impact Factor of a Scholarly Journal: What it is and How to Find It

A reliable way to find the impact factor of a scholarly journal.

Colorful, decorative horizontal line.

What is an impact factor?

"The impact factor (IF) is a measure of the frequency with which the average article in a journal has been cited in a particular year. It is used to measure the importance or rank of a journal by calculating the times its articles are cited." Measuring Your Impact, University of Illinois, Chicago.

Please Note!

  • Impact factors change over time.
  • Always go to the scholarly journal's website for the most current impact factor.


If you need more publishing information for scholarly journals, try this database:


When you know the title of the scholarly journal, find its website (simply Google the title), and if there's no obvious mention of the journal's impact factor right up front, check any section of the website for journal information or journal metrics.


Here's a sample Google search:

A Google search for the journal title, journal of insect physiology.

On the screen of search results, the link to the journal's website is first on the list.

The link to the website for the journal of insect physiology in Google search results.

Click this link to the Journal of Insect Physiology's website to see for yourself the current impact factor displayed right up front on near the top, right-hand corner of the screen.


Here's another sample Google search:

A Google search for the journal title American journal of bioethics.

On the screen of search results, the link to the journal's website is the second item on the list.

The Google search result with the link to the American journal of bioethics website.

The current impact factor of this scholarly journal appears under the Journal metrics button.

The journal metrics button on the journal's website.

Click this link to The American Journal of Bioethics website and then the Journal metrics button to see the current impact factor.


1.  Go to the library's list of Databases by Subject (a.k.a. discipline).

2.  Click on your subject.

3.  Choose a database and run a keyword search.  Limit your results to scholarly or peer reviewed.

4.  Each item in your list of results will have the title of a scholarly journal as shown underlined in green below: 

Two items from a keyword search with the titles of the scholarly journals underlined in green.

5.  Choose a scholarly journal title then Google it as shown in the examples above.


If you are Googling a one-word journal title as in the second example above (Ecology), add the keyword journal to your Google search.

Colorful, decorative horizontal line.