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How to Evaluate Information Sources

This guide will inform you about which criteria to use to evaluate resources

Evaluating authors

Learning more about authors

  • Who is the author?
  • What else has the author written? Use a database like Scopus to do a search 
  • In which communities and contexts does the author have expertise?
    • Does the author represent a particular set of world views? 
    • Do they represent specific gender, sexual, racial, political, social and/or cultural orientations?
    • Do they privilege some sources of authority over others?
    • Do they have a formal role in a particular institution (e.g. a professor at Oxford)? 


Source: UC Berkeley Library

Evaluating journals

Evaluating journals for use in a student paper

If you're questioning whether to use an article from a specific journal, check out the following: 

  • is the journal indexed in a scholarly database such as Scopus or PubMed
  • look at the journal's website -- are the members of the editorial board qualified in the journal's subject matter? 
  • what is the acceptance rate of the journal -- this is the percentage of articles that are accepted to be published
  • is the article peer-reviewed? 
  • If in doubt -- ask your instructor or ask a librarian

Evaluating journals for publication

Are you considering a journal for publication? Check out the ACRL Toolkit for publishers

Find out if a journal is considered a "predatory journal" by checking Beall's List of Potential Predatory Journals and Publishers

Journal rankings

Journals are ranked by a variety of methods by a variety of interested parties. 

Scimago Journal Rank -- ranks journals in a variety of subjects according to various metrics

Scopus uses its own CiteScore method to rank journals within its database of scholarly articles


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