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Journal metrics

What are they used for?

They are measures used to evaluate the quality of a journal.

Commonly used metrics include:

  • Journal Impact Factor (Web of Science Core Collection data)
  • SCImago Journal and Country Rank (SJR) (Scopus data)
  • SNIP and CiteScore (Scopus data)

Other quality measures

These can be Inclusion on the Excellence in Research in Australia (ERA) or other curated lists, where it is indexed, peer review status, citation metrics, subject rankings and acceptance rates. For more help use the:

Journal metrics can be used in grant applications, academic promotion and as a way to identify potential journals to publish in.

Find impact factors

Impact factors are found in Journal Citation Reports (JCR), a Clarivate database. This database allows you to determine the relative importance of journals within their subject categories.

Impact factors can be used to:

  • Identify journals in which to publish.
  • Identify journals relevant to your research.
  • Confirm the status of journals in which you have published.


Key facts

  • Uses Web of Science Core Collection data (12,000 + journals in sciences and social sciences)
  • Includes a two year and five year impact factor, and impact factor trends
  • Updated mid year annually (usually June or July)

Step by step help

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Top 5 things about impact factors

Not all journals have impact factors, they must be indexed in Web of Science Core Collection.

  1. A journal has only one impact factor, but it may be listed in more than one category.
  2. A journal impact factor should not be looked at in isolation, but in comparison to other journals in the same category.
  3. Impact factors vary across disciplines.
  4. A five-year impact factor may also be used in some disciplines.
  5. An impact factor should not be looked at in isolation.

Is it a good number?

To state that the journal of Internet and Higher Education has an impact factor of 7.178 is not meaningful. Rather, the impact factor of a journal should be compared to the impact factors for other journals within the same subject category.

It is more useful to say:

"This journal is in Quartile 1, 5/264 for Education & Educational Research - Journal Citation Reports (2019)."

Find Scopus journal metrics

Scopus provides the following metrics to compare journals

Name of the measure Definition
Scimago journal & country rank (SJR) Defined as the average number of weighted citations received in the selected year by the documents published in the selected journal in the three previous years. It is a measure of prestige.
CiteScore Based on the number of citations to documents by a journal over four years, divided by the number of the same document types indexed in Scopus and published in those same four years.
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) Shows the ratio of a source's average citation count per paper and the citation potential of its subject field.

The above definitions are adapted from:


To find the CiteScore, SNIP and other measures:

  1. Open Scopus and select Sources (top right)
  2. Search for the source title
  3. Open the source record to see relevant measures

Step by step help

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Grant guidelines and journal metrics

Check grant guidelines carefully as some may stipulate that using journal metrics is not appropriate. For example the National Health and Medical Research Council investigator grants do not allow the use of journal metrics.

For more help