Answered By: Harry L. Whitlock II
Last Updated: Oct 31, 2017     Views: 55

In research and writing by academic professionals, the impact factor (IF) of a journal is a semi-quantitiative measure of the average number of citations from a specific journal that appear in other academic articles. It is often used as a means of determining the relative importance of a journal in a specific field of study. Thus a journal that is often cited by other articles is said to have a high impact factor. A journal that is rarely cited has a low impact factor.

Through the UW libraries, you can see what the Impact Factor is for different journals by looking at Journal Citation Reports. This link will take you to that database: You must be affiliated with the University of Wyoming to access this information; off-campus users be sure to sign on through the proxy server.

In some fields the validity of impact factors is disputed. If you are concerned about the validity of impact factors for certain journals, we recommend that you talk to a knowledgeable professor or researcher in your field of study, or talk to on of the academic librarians at the UW libraries. This link will take you to the list of liaison librarians:

This library guide covers this topic in much more detail:

Related FAQs

    Contact Us

    Email us

    Send a message to

    Schedule an appointment with us

    Set up an appointment with a subject librarian


    Text us 

    Text us at (307) 460-4336

    Live chat 

    Click on the chat icon located on the grey bar on the main library webpage

    Mail us 

    University of Wyoming Libraries
    Department 3334,
    1000 E. University Ave.
    Laramie, WY 82071

    Phone us 

    Help Desk 307-766-3190, 307-766-2070 or toll free 1-800-442-6757
    Geology Library 307-766-3374
    Special Collections 307-766-6245
    Learning Resource Center 307-766-2527
    Library Annex 307-766-6539
    Law Library 307-766-5737
    American Heritage Center 307-766-3756
    Reference services are available in all UW libraries.