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Journal Quality

How to use journal quality indicators

Journal quality indicators, such as SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) and Journal Citation Reports (JCR) 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

But what’s in a number? To state that the British Medical Journal (BMJ) has an impact factor of 9.052 is reasonably meaningless.

It is more meaningful to say that BMJ’s impact factor ranks sixth of 105 journals in the field of general and internal medicine. Or to compare the journal’s impact factor of 9.052 with the aggregate impact factor for its field: 4.326.

Both SCImago Journal Rankings and Journal Citation Reports divide the journals in each subject category into quartiles, based on their Journal Impact Factor and SCImago Journal Rank, respectively.  Providing the quartile of the journal, for example Quartile 1 (Q1) provides evidence of  where the journal is placed within the field.

It is recommended, therefore, that the impact factor or SJR of a journal are not looked at in isolation. Rather, they should be considered in the context of what they mean within a discipline or field of research.

For more information about other journal metrics see Metrics.

Scimago Journal & Country Rank

The SCImago Journal & Country Rank (SJR) is a website that provides journals and country metrics based on Scopus (Elsevier) data. The SJR was developed by the SCImago Research Group.  Journals can be searched for by publisher, journal name or ISSN.  Each journal page provides metrics such as the journal's h-index, its SJR, its subject area quartile and the percentage of documents within the journal that have been cited.


The Journal Rankings can be analysed by a number of filters, including subject area, region and type of publication.  Ranking lists can be downloaded as a spreadsheet.

Journal Citation Reports

Journal Citation Reports (JCR) is based on data from the Web of Science Core Collection, both Clarivate Analytics products. Tthe cited references for all content from these journals is captured, and the cited references are linked to the cited papers. This article-level citation data is aggregated to the journal-level at the end of the year to create the indicators available in JCR. JCR includes the over 11,500 titles from the Science Citation Index-Expanded and Social Sciences Citation Index. The Science and Social Science editions of JCR are released annually.  The below video provides an overview of how to use JCR.

Other journal quality lists

There are a number of journal quality lists compiled by different entities.  Many of them are discipline specific.  See below for a list of a few: