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Research impact for Education: a self-help guide

Journal-level metrics


Take care not to use journal-based metrics, such as Journal Impact Factor(s), inappropriately or as a surrogate measure of the quality of individual research articles, to assess an individual scientist’s contributions.

While there is often a relationship between journal ranking metrics and perceived quality, a high number of citations do not necessarily translate into high quality and at the same time the impact of a noted article cannot always be paralleled by the ranking of the journal it is published in.

Journal indicators

Journal performance metrics are taken from different sources and are based on a variety of algorithms covering various data-sets. When journals are compared with journals from another field they can vary based on disciplinary/field citation behaviors. This could make it complex to make accurate comparisons. 

Below is a list with the main journal indicators used for journals. Use caution when using these indicators as part of grant proposals. Check the grant guidelines first and state clearly the source of the journal indicator included in the proposal.

Take care! The Journal Impact Factor, etc. is applied at the journal-level  and provides only a broad indication based on raw data about articles within these journals. It is not an appropriate proxy for researcher/author performance.

CiteScore is calculated annually and counts the citations received in four years (e.g., 2017-2020) to articles, reviews, conference papers, book chapters and data papers published in those same years (e.g., 2017-2020), and divides this by the number of publications published in those four years (e.g., 2017-2020). The 4-year CiteScore time window provides a robust assessment of citations to papers after their publication. A 4-year publication window is a good fit for all subject areas and long enough to capture the citation peak of the majority of disciplines. CiteScore Tracker use the same methodology with citations based on the latest (e.g., 2021) data. CiteScore is updated monthly.
Find CiteScores in Scopus
This is a Web of Science, Journal Citation Reports indicator. It is displayed for journals in the Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), Arts & Humanities Citation Index (AHCI), Science Citation Index Expanded (SCIE), and Social Science Citation Index (SSCI). The Journal Citation Indicator (JCI) is the average Category Normalised Citation Impact (CNCI) of citable items (articles and reviews) published by a journal over a recent three year period. The average JCI in a category is 1. Journals with a JCI of 1.5 have 50% more citation impact than the average in that category. It may be used alongside other metrics to help evaluate journals.
Find the JCI in the Journal Citation Reports
This is a Web of Science, Journal Citation Reports indicator. It is only displayed for journals in the Science Citation Index Expanded (SCIE), and Social Science Citation Index (SSCI). Journal Impact Factor is calculated using the Citations of articles in a journal in a year (e.g., 2020) to items published in the preceding two years (e.g., 2018 + 2019) over the Number of citable items in that journal for the same two years (e.g., 2018 + 2019). The JIF Numerator is a subset of all citations to this journal in the calendar year: citations only to items with a publication date from the prior two years. These citations are sources from all document types across all Web of Science Core Collections indexes. The JIF Denominator is the number of citable items published in the journal over the prior two years. Articles and Reviews in the Web of Science Core Collection (SCI, SSCI, A&HCI) are citable items. Editorials, letters and news items are excluded. Early Access content are also included in the calculation. View an interactive infographic about the latest Journal Citation Reports.
Find the JIF in the Journal Citation Reports
SCImago Journal Rank expresses the average number of weighted citations received in the selected year by the documents published in the selected journal in the three previous years, i.e. weighted citations received in year X to documents published in the journal in years X-1, X-2, and X-3 (3 years). Citation weighting depends on subject field and prestige/reputation of the citing journal. NOTE: SCImago is a research group from the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), University of Granada, Extremadura, Carlos III (Madrid) and Alcalá de Henares, dedicated to information analysis, representation and retrieval by means of visualisation techniques.
Find SJR in Scopus
Source Normalised Impact per Paper measures actual citations received relative to citations expected for the serial’s subject field. SNIP corrects for differences in citation practices between scientific fields, allowing more accurate between-field comparisons. A single citation is valued more by this metric in subject areas where citations are less likely. A key indicator offered by CWTS Journal Indicators based on Scopus data, this metric represents the number of citations given in the present year to publications in the journal in the past three years divided by the total number of publications in the journal in the past three years. Essentially, the longer the reference list of a citing publication, the lower the value of a citation originating from that publication.
Find SNIP in Scopus

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