Skip to main content

Clerkship Resources and Tips: Finding High Impact Articles

Keys to success in the clerkships and beyond.

Strategies for Finding High Impact Articles

A "high impact" article is one that has been widely read, circulated, and cited by others.  When researching a topic, it is advisable to identify and read high impact articles that have been written about that topic.  On this page, you'll a few strategies for how to do so.

Citation Indexes (Web of Science and Scopus)

A citation index is a record of the citations between publications allowing users to see which later documents cited which earlier documents.  These make great tools for identifying high impact articles as well as high impact authors.  These tools allow you to sort your search results based on the number of times an article was cited, bringing the highly cited articles to the top of the results list, and display the number of times cited so you can see how many times the articles was cited on the search results page.

Additionally these resources give you the ability to anaylze a set of citations.  In Web of Science, you can do so by clicking the Analyze Results option which appears near the top of the search results page above the Times Cited column.  The results analysis provides significant additional information, including the ability to see which authors have written mostly extensively on the topic.

Google Scholar

Though lacking some of the bells and whistles available in traditional citation indexes, Google Scholar can be a great, fast way to identify high impact articles since it includes citations in its ranking algorithm and provides a Cited By number right on the search results page.  Here's a tip, if use the Google Scholar link of the Levy Library Databases page, Google Scholar will display a Full Text @ Levy Library option along the right hand side of the page that allows you to find out whether the article you're interested in is available as part of our collection (just as you can in PubMed and other resources).

Core Clinical Journals PubMed Filter

One of the many filtering options in PubMed is an option to filter your results to "Core clinical uournals."  This filter restricts your search to only display  results that were published in any of about 120 important, well respected journal, including JAMA, NEJM, The Lancet, and Nature.  For a complete list of Core Clinical Journals, please click here.  By using this filter, you are essentially only searching in high impact journals, thereby increasing the likelihood that your search results will include high impact articles.

This filter option does not displau by default.  In order to find it, click the Show additional filters option, then click the checkbox next to Journal categories (see screenshot below).  Once the Journal categories option is displayed, click the Core clinical journals option to turn on this filter.

Journal Citation Reports

Another option for finding high impact articles is to look exclusively in high impact journals.  The Journal Citation Reports database ranks journals' impact factors.  You can search for an individual journal to find out its impact factor or search within a subject category to find out which are the highest impact journals in that field.  To use Journal Citation Reports, go to the Library Databases page and search for JCR.