Journal and Article Metrics

There are many different metrics used to measure the influence of journals. Understanding their definitions, uses and limitations will help you make decisions about your journal.

For a full list of metrics and what they mean, visit the metrics page or download the Journal Metrics Factsheet for more information.

Citation trends

It is possible to assess the development of a journal by tracking its own performance patterns over time. Scopus is invaluable for such analyses, supporting citation analysis from 1996 over any number of years that is appropriate to the question being addressed. As an editor, you have complimentary access to Scopus via the Elsevier Editorial System (EES).

The feature Compare journals in Scopus provides you with a quick, easy and transparent view of journal performance, including two journal metrics - SJR and SNIP. Using citations from nearly 19,500 titles from 5,000 international publishers, the Compare journals feature gives access to an objective overview of the journal landscape going back to 1996. Watch the tutorial.


Article and issue types

Evaluating differences between the average citations of different types of article and issue may raise points for consideration when setting the future strategy of your journal. You can do this using the Scopus Citation Tracker.

  • Review articles are, on average, cited three times more frequently than original research articles. This is useful for assessing the topicality of reviews published in a particular journal, by comparing to an average research article published in the same journal. Similarly, special or themed issues and supplements are often published with the aim of attracting citations at a higher rate than a regular issue.
  • Key articles are those that exceed a set threshold of citations. The proportion of 'key' articles in your journal can indicate whether improvements are needed in attracting top research and authors. The number of years over which incoming citations are counted, and the level at which an article begins to be considered 'key', will vary depending on the subject area and journal.
  • Uncited content represents the less well-received articles in a journal. High quality content that is useful to the community and supports the development of the field is generally indicated by citation inflow. Reductions in the proportion of uncited articles can indicate improvements in overall journal quality. The time after which an article is considered uncited, and the desirable level of uncited content, will vary depending on the journal and field.