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Journal- and article-level metrics

There are many different metrics used to measure the influence of your articles and the journals in which they are published. Understanding their definitions, uses and limitations will help you make decisions about where to publish in the future.

Journal-level metrics

Metrics have become a fact of life in many — if not all — fields of research and scholarship. In an age of information abundance (often termed "information overload"), having a shorthand for the signals for where in the ocean of published literature to focus our limited attention has become increasingly important.

For more information about journal-level metrics, please see measuring a journal's impact.

Article-level metrics

Article-level metrics (ALMs) quantify the reach and impact of published research.

ALMs seek to incorporate data from new sources (such as social media mentions) along with traditional measures (such as citations) to present a richer picture of how an individual article is being discussed, shared and used.

For more information about article-level metrics, please see measuring an article's impact.

Citation trends and journal analysis

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.

The feature "compare sourcesopens in new tab/window" in Scopus provides you with a quick, easy and transparent view of journal performance, including several journal metrics. Using citations from over 20,000 titles from 5,000 international publishers, the compare sources feature gives access to an objective overview of the journal landscape going back to 1996.


How to compare sources tutorial

Article and issue types

Evaluating differences between the average citations of different types of article and issue may raise points for consideration when determining 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.

In case of any questions about the above or how to make best use of the resources mentioned, please contact your Publisher.