Skip to Main Content

Promote: Journal metrics

Introduction to journal metrics

Journal rankings are intended to reflect the importance of a journal within its field.

The metrics are centered around the number of citations accumulated by articles in that journal. Implicit in this is the assumption that the greater the number of citations, the more important and relevant that journal is.

The journal metrics generated by both Scopus and the Web of Science are used by institutions and organisations to rate both research and journal performance.


Why are there differences in metrics between databases for the same journal?

A journal's metrics will vary between databases as they will reflect how the article is being cited within that database. As each data base indexes a different range of titles, it is expected that the results will vary.

A multidisciplinary journal title's metric may have several metrics reflecting it's standing within the different subject categories it covers e.g. a sports science journal which falls under both:

  • Health Professions (Physical therapy, Sports Therapy & Rehabilitation Sports Science) and
  • Medicine

could receive a different SJR, CiteScore or Impact Factor for each subject category.

Different types of metrics may be used by different databases. The database will generally provide information as to how the metrics are calculated.

Citation data from the Scopus database is used by Scimago Journal Rankings (SJR), Citescore and SciVal

Find highly ranked journals using the Scopus Sources list

The Scopus Source list (located in the uppermost menu) lists all titles indexed by Scopus.

The Sources list provides a range of metrics which can be used to evaluate a journal.

  • CiteScore calculates the average number of citations received in a calendar year by all items published in that journal in the preceding three years. The calendar year to which a serial title’s issues are assigned is determined by their cover dates, and not the dates that the serial issues were made available online.

  • CiteScore and CiteScore percentile should not be used to compare journals from different subject areas as they are not field-normalised or weighted.

  • for more information, view the CiteScore metrics FAQs

Link to image of Sources page

Find highly ranked Scopus indexed journals using Scimago Journal Rankings (SJR) and Quartile ranking


  • The Scimago Journal Rankings (SJR) score for a journal is calculated by taking into account both the number of citations
    a journal receives as well as the "importance" of the citing journal.

  • SJR is a normalised score which allows journals from different disciplines to be compared.

  • Click on a title to see more information e.g. the subject categories it covers. For journals that have been categorised under more than one subject area, the SJR for each subject area may be different.

  • The Quartile level indicates where the journal sits in it's subject category

    • with Q1 indicating that the title is in the top 25% of journals in that subject category

    • multidisciplinary journals may attain different Quartile metrics for each of their different subject category

Scimago image

Comparing Sources in Scopus

Scopus Compare sources

The Scopus compare sources tool enables you to compare up to 10 sources on a variety of parameters.

The Compare sources tool is available in both a chart and a table view. The chart displays information in a line graph, with separate graphs for each parameter. The table lists parameters together in one table.


From the Search Page:

  1. Click the ‘Search’  tab on the top navigational panel.
  2. Click ‘Compare sources’ in the blue bar.

From the Source page:

  1. Click the ‘Sources’  tab on the top navigational panel.
  2. Search or browse for a source and click on it’s title to open the source details page.
  3. Click ‘Compare sources’. The Compare sources tool opens with the source added.

Set an appropriate date range - view recent metrics or metrics across all dates

For definitions of Metrics provided: see Quick Reference Cards for Research Impact Metrics

For the full range of Scopus/SciVal metrics, click on the poster below:

Image with link to Elsevier's Quick Reference Cards for Research Impact Metrics

Web of Science is a multidisciplinary abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature, and provides both author and journal metrics (performance analytics) of the literature indexed in the database.

Journal Citation Reports (JCR)

JCR Uses Citation Data Sourced From the Web of Science Core Collection Database

View up to date information about JCR including the current year's highlights

View titles indexed by Web of Science

  • Only highly cited journals in the  Web of Science are included in the Journal Citation Reports.
  • Journals are ranked by their Impact Factor (IF) and ranking in the context of their specific subject field(s).

JCR is published annually in two editions, and only the editions and years to which ECU subscribes appear on the home page. Some subjects can appear in both editions.

  • JCR Science Edition
  • JCR Social Sciences Edition

Journal Impact Factor (IF)

  • Shows the frequency with which the average article in a journal has been cited in a particular year.
  • Highest impact journals in a field at the journal and category level.

For example:
An impact factor of 1.0 indicates that on average, the articles published one or two years ago have been cited once
An impact factor of 3 indicates that on average, the articles published one or two years ago have been cited 3 times.

Find a Journal's Quartile Rank

  1. Login into Journal Citation Reports - if you haven't done so, you will need to create a personal login to use this function.
  2. Click on Browse by Journal.
  3. Select the filter button to open the left hand panel >
    • Click on Journals
    • Start typing in the title you are interested in viewing
    • Click on the suggested title in the drop down menu to select it
    • Select JIF Quartiles
    • You can search and select several titles
  4. Select JCR Year > metrics will change over the years.
  5. Select Categories > from the drop down menu, select the Subject category your journal is part of.
  6. Submit.
  7. The journal's JIF-subject category (Q1 - Q4) will display on the right hand panel.
  8. Once you are logged in you may change the indicators displayed to you by clicking on Customise to the right of the top of the central box

Find a Journal's Journal Impact Factor (IF)


Web of Science Average Journal Impact Factor (JIF) Percentile

The Journal Impact Factor (JIF) Percentile transforms the rank in category by Journal Impact Factor into a percentile value, allowing more meaningful cross-category comparison.  

The Average Journal Impact Factor (JIF) Percentile takes the sum of the JIF Percentile for each category under consideration, and then calculates the average from those values.

  1. You will need a personal login to use this function.
  2. Search for the journal you are examining.
  3. Select the journal from the list to pull up its information page.
  4. In the result's screen, view the current year's metrics.
  5. Scroll down the page to view the Journal Impact Factor (JIF) Percentile in various categories and across time as well as the full range of metrics available for the journal.
  6. The following screen presents all of the journal's key metric indicators across all years.

Use the Web of Science's Analyze Results to find top sources on a topic

1. Search Web of Science

2. If you're happy that the results list match you topic expectations, click on Analyze Results

3. Sort Results options:

There are lots of sorting options including

  • Source titles (journals)
  • Book series
  • Web of Science Categories - shows multidisciplinary aspect of the topic
  • Publication years - are publications on the topic increasing or decreasing
  • etc.

A Journal's h-index

Similar to the author's h-index, a journal's h-index attempts to measure both the productivity and citation impact of a publication. Metrics may change depending on the range of years selected.

Listed Below Are the Steps on How to Find a Journal's h-index in Various Databases:

Web of Science- Find a Journal Title's h-index

Search Web of Science by journal publication
image: Web of Science publication search

Click on Citation Report
Image: Web of Science results list - citation report

Metrics provided on that title include:

  • Total publications
  • h-index
  • Average citations per item
  • Sum of times cited (per article by year) (all articles by year)
  • Sum of times cited - without self-citations
  • Citing articles
  • Without self citations

h-index of journals indexed by Scopus

An easy way to to discover the h-index of a journal is to go to Scimago (Scimago uses Scopus citation data to calculate it's metrics)


  • Search for a journal title in the search box or
  • Browse journals by subject > select a journal

The journal's landing page will display the journal's h-index.

Finding the h-index in Google Scholar

  • Click on the three horizontal bars on the top left hand side of the page.
  • Click on Metrics.

Image: Google Scholare Metrics

  • Search for the journal by title in the search box OR brows journal by category
  • The title's h5-index and h5-median will be displayed.
    • h5-index is the h-index for articles published in the last 5 complete years. It is the largest number h such that h articles published in 2013-2017 have at least h citations each.
    • h5-median for a publication is the median number of citations for the articles that make up its h5-index.

Image: Google Scholar journal h-index

Google Scholar's ranking of journals by discipline


Is the h-index for articles published in the last 5 complete years. It is the largest number h such that h articles published in 2012-2016 have at least h citations each.


For a publication is the median number of citations for the articles that make up its h5-index.

Expand all