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Open Access Publications from the University of California

A Review of Journal Impact Metrics and Characteristics to Assist Emergency Medicine Investigators with Manuscript Submission Decisions


Introduction: A crucial, yet subjective and non-evidence-based, decision for researchers is where to submit their original research manuscripts. The approach of submitting to journals in descending order of impact factor (IF) is a common but imperfect strategy. The validity of the IF as a measure of journal quality and significance is suspect, and a number of other journal impact scores have emerged, such that no one scale is universally accepted. Furthermore, practical considerations, such as likelihood of manuscript acceptance rates and times for decisions, may influence how authors prioritize journals. In this report, we sought to 1) review emergency medicine (EM) journal impact metrics, and 2) provide a comprehensive list of pertinent journal characteristics that may influence researchers’ choice of submission.

Methods: We systematically reviewed five impact metrics (IF, H Index, CiteScore, Source-Normalized Impact per Paper, and SCImago Journal Rank) and other relevant characteristics of 20 EM journals.

Results: We found good to excellent agreement in ordinal rankings of four of the journal impact metrics, as measured by the Spearman rank correlation coefficient. The median acceptance rate for original research manuscripts in the EM category was 25% (interquartile range [IQR] 18, 31%), and the median initial decision time was 33 days (IQR 18, 56 days). Fourteen EM journals (70%) accepted brief reports, and 15 (75%) accepted case reports/images.

Conclusion: We recommend replication, expansion, and formalization of this repository of information for EM investigators in a continuously updated, open-access forum sponsored by an independent organization.

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