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Bibliometrics & Research Impact: Journal Metrics

Journal Metrics

Journal-level metrics measure the impact, reach, or prestige of a journal. Journal-level metrics are designed to measure the aggregate impact of publication as a whole and should not be used as proxy metrics for authors who publish in a particular journal.

There are two main sources of Journal Metrics.


Journal Impact Factor / Journal Citation Reports

To find the journals with the highest impact in Web of Science, use Journal Citation Reports which lists the Journal Impact Factor of all journals. The Journal Impact Factor is calculated by dividing the number of citations in the Journal Citation Reports year by the total number of articles published in the two previous years. A Journal Impact Factor of 1.5 for a particular journal would mean that, on average, articles published in that journal during the previous two years have been cited 1.5 times. The Journal Impact Factor is a relative number and can only be used to compare journals in the same research field. The Journal Impact Factor uses Thomson Reuters’s Web of Science citation data.

Journal Citation Reports and Web of Science are subscription databases and are available via This guide will show you how to use the Journal Citation Reports.

When choosing a journal an important factor to consider is its ranking in its subject category or categories e.g. whether it is ranked in the top 10 journals in the subject category by impact factor or whether it is a quartile 1 or quartile 2 journal. In the journal profile page in Journal Citation Reports for the journal of interest in, click on Ranking on the left hand side below the Key Indicators box. If the journal is included in more than one subject category remember to scroll to the right in the Ranking window to see its ranking in the other categories.

Journal Citation Reports - Tutorial

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR)

The SJR is freely available on the web at  and via Scopus and uses citation data from Scopus. The SJR gives higher weight to citations from high impact journals and is calculated over a 3 year period. The SJR normalises for differences in citation behaviour between subject fields.

Scimago Rankings


SNIP (source normalized impact per paper) is also available at and via Scopus and uses citation data from Scopus. This indicator measures the average citation impact of the publications of a journal. The SNIP corrects for differences in citation practices between scientific fields, which allows for more accurate between-field comparisons of citation impact.


CiteScore is a new journal metric available at and via Scopus. The metric is calculated similarly to the Journal Impact Factor except it is over a three year period instead of two years and all document types are included.

Scopus Compare Journals Tool

With the Scopus Compare Journals tool you can compare up to 10 journals by CiteScore, SJR, SNIP, citations, documents, percent not cited and percent reviews.