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Research Impact and Scholarly Metrics

Understanding and using bibliometrics to evaluate journals and impact of scholarly work.


Scopus is a subscription citation indexing database from Elsevier, but the Scopus Source list and ranking metrics are freely available.

Scopus ranks journals using their CiteScore metric, which is similar to Journal Impact Factor but analyzed over a 4-year period instead of a 2-year period.

Why Use CiteScore?

  • Free access to journal rankings (you don't need a Scopus subscription)
  • Ranks more journals than Journal Citation Reports
  • Covers all academic disciplines
  • 4-year window captures citation peak for a majority of disciplines
  • Transparent methodology


How CiteScore is Calculated

CiteScore measures the frequency with which peer-reviewed content published in a journal was cited in other journals during the four previous years.

Calculation of CiteScore 2020 for a journal:

a = the number of citations received in 2017-2020 to peer-reviewed documents (articles, reviews, conference papers, book chapters, and data papers) published in 2017-2020
b = the total number of peer-reviewed documents indexed in Scopus and published in 2017-2020

a / b = CiteScore 2020


Let's say in the years 2017 to 2020 there were 800 citable items published in a journal. In that same 4-year span, those 800 items were cited 200 times.

We divide the total citations (800) by the total items (200) to get a CiteScore of 4.0. In other words, items published from 2017 to 2020 received an average of 4 citations each.