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Scopus User Guide: Journal Metrics

This guide is intended to provide a basic overview of Elsevier's Scopus database, including content, tips and tricks, and a comparison to Web of Science for those transitioning from that database to Scopus.

Created by Health Science Librarians

How Can I Assess Journal Impact?

Different measures are used to assess the quality and impact of a journal.  These measures are one factor to consider when deciding where to publish your work. 

See the chart below to find out more about measures of journal impact.  Click on the links in the boxes at the bottom of the table to find out how to get these measures.

Common Measures of Journal Impact


  Impact Factor (IF) Eigenfactor SCImago Journal Ranking (SJR) Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP)
Measure of... Frequency with which the 'average article' in a journal has been cited in a particular year or other defined time period Measure of importance: overall value provided by all articles published in a a journal in one year Measure of prestige; accounts for number of citations received by a journal and importance of the journals that citations came from Measures citation impact by weighting citations based on the total number of citations in a subject field
Calculation A: Number of citations in the current year to items published in the journal in the previous two years
B: Total number of articles published in the journal in the previous two years
Impact Factor = A/B
Citations from high-quality journals are weighted more than citations from lesser known journals

Citations from more prestigious journals (higher SJR) weighted more than citations from less prestigious journals (lower SJR)
Citations from subject fields in which citations are less likely are weighted more
Can it be used to compare journals from different disciplines? No Yes Yes Yes
Where can I get it? Journal Citation Reports OR the journal's website Journal Citation Reports OR free from Scopus OR free from SCImago Journal & Country Rank Scopus OR free from CWTS Journal Indicators

Note: As of January 2022, the UNC Libraries no longer subscribe to the Journal Citation Reports, which provide the Journal Impact Factors.


Scopus is a resource for evaluating and comparing journals.  Provides SCImago Journal Ranking (SJR) and Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) for more than 19,000 journals.

The Compare Sources feature in Scopus can be used to view and compare the following metrics for up to 10 journals at a time:

  • SJR
  • SNIP
  • Number of citations received in a year
  • Number of documents published in a year
  • Percentage of documents published in a year that have never been cited
  • Percentage of articles that are review articles

*Note: If you wish to view the SJR only, you can do so if you go to the SJR Website

Find SJR and SNIP

  • To access the Compare Sources feature, click on Compare Sources to the right of the search box on the Scopus homepage
  • Enter a journal title or title word in the search box on the Compare Sources page
  • You can limit by subject area; this is helpful if you have entered a single word in the search box and want to view a list of journals for a particular subject area. Often times the search box will bring up a list of results with matching terms so you can choose your journal. 
  • Once you click on your journal, the metrics will be shown on the right, and you can click on the tabs at the top to navigate to the metric that you like. As of October 2017, the current options for viewable metrics are CiteScore, SJR, SNIP, Citations, Documents, % Not Cited, % Reviews. 
  • To add additional journals to the chart, repeat the search process.
  • By default, metrics are displayed in a line chart.  To change the display, click on the Table link at the top of the chart.

Scopus Homepage


Compare Sources with Search Box and Metrics Displayed

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