Journal Scholar Metrics is a bibliometric tool that seeks to measure the performance of Art, Humanities, and Social Science journals by counting the number of bibliographic citations their articles have received according to Google Scholar.

In keeping with the research line the EC3 Research Group began a few years ago, aimed at unravelling the inner depths of Google Scholar and testing its capabilities as a tool for scientific evaluation, the goal of this product is to identify the subset of journals indexed in Google Scholar Metrics (GSM) dedicated to any field of study which falls within the scope of the Humanities or the Social Sciences, and to offer an array of basic citation-based indicators for these journals.

GSM mainly covers scientific journals (~95% of the sources). The rest of the sources are conference proceedings (mostly from Computer Science and Engineering), and collections in repositories (i.e. arXiv, SSRN). Only journals, conference proceedings, or repository collections which have published at least 100 papers in the last five complete years and received at least one citation are included in this product. There are two bibliometric indicators computed for every journal: the H5-index (h-index computed from the citations to documents published in the last five years) and the H5-median (median of the citation counts in the documents that contribute to the H5-index).

Journal rankings in GSM are presented by languages. In the first two editions there were ten different languages (English, Chinese, Portuguese, German, Spanish, French, Korean, Japanese, Dutch, and Italian). In the last edition there were nine, since Korean was dropped. For publications written in English, however, GSM also groups journals in 8 subject categories (Business, Economics & Management; Chemical & Material Sciences; Engineering & Computer Science, Health & Medical Sciences; Humanities, Literature & Arts; Life Sciences & Earth Sciences; Physics & Mathematics; Social Sciences), and 261 disciplines. For each journal, the bibliographic information of the documents with citation counts that contribute to the h5-index of the journal can also be consulted. For each one of these documents, in turn, it is possible to consult the bibliographic information of their citing documents.

Additionally, GSM also offers a search box with which it is possible to search journals by their names. These searches will display a maximum of 20 results.

Unfortunately, Google Scholar Metrics presents a rather restrictive visualization system. Only the top 100 sources according to their h5-index are displayed when selecting any of the language or subject category rankings. As for the discipline rankings and the queries that can be made through the search box, only the top 20 results are displayed there. This effectively means that there is no straightforward method to learn how many journals are indexed in GSM, and it also means that most of the journals in GSM haven't been assigned to any subject category or discipline (at least publicly). As regards the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, the number of journals found in the subject categories offered by GSM (“Humanities, Literature & Arts”, “Social Sciences”, and “Business, Economics & Management”) only amounts to approximately 1,800. By perusing the language rankings we can find around 300 more. It is clear that this amount is just a very small portion of the total number of journals that devote themselves to these areas of knowledge and are indexed in GSM. As an example, in a study where we worked only with Spanish journals indexded in GSM we were able to find 738 journals which met these criteria.

Moreover, GSM doesn’t allow grouping and ordering journals according to ther country of publication.

In order to overcome these limitations, we took advantage of the various search features available in GSM, and set out to collect all Art, Humanities and Social Science journals indexed in this product.

The ultimate goal of this project is, therefore, to gauge the extent of the journal coverage in Google Scholar Metrics, focusing our efforts in the areas of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences.

The experimental nature of this project is also aimed at verifying the degree of acceptance of products of this kind in the Humanities and Social Sciences communities, which are not as of yet familiar with this sort of bibliometric practices. And the best way to do this is to display the results obtained in each area of study in order to analyse and assess the reactions that these products may provoke. While bibliometric indicators have been quickly implanted as assessment tools in the Natural Sciences and Engineering, they have been relegated to a second plane –when not outright rejected- in the Humanities and Social Sciences. The reasons are of course the singular research habits in these areas, as well as the lack of proper information systems that facilitate the creation of bibliometric tools.


Alberto Martín-Martín enjoys a four-year doctoral fellowship (FPU2013/05863) granted by the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports. Juan Manuel Ayllón enjoys a four-year doctoral fellowship (BES-2012-054980) granted by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness. This study has also been funded by project APOSTD/2013/002 from the Regional Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport (Generalitat Valenciana, Spain), awarded to Enrique Orduña-Malea.