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This guide explains the measures used for academic papers

Journal-level metrics

Article-level metrics can be ‘rolled up’ to analyse the performance of a journal title. The ‘main-players’ for journal-level metrics are Elsevier (a publisher and indexer) and Clarivate Analytics (indexer only). Not all journal titles are indexed and only publications indexed by Elsevier in Scopus form the data set that is analysed for international university rankings.

Journal-level metrics measure the influence and research impact of journals. The measures are predominately based on citation countsJournal metrics are used by researchers to identify the most appropriate and influential journals in which to publish and to track citation patterns to make strategic and funding decisions.

  • Useful for understanding past publishing behaviour and for developing and monitoring future publication strategy; never as a proxy for the impact or quality of an individual article
  • The relationship between a journal’s citation impact and the rigour of its peer-review process is unclear. 
  • The citation impact of a journal must never be used as a proxy for the value of a given paper in  research  evaluation: but  the two are often  conflated 
  • An article in a top journal may remain uncited for many years, so publication in a high impact journal doesn’t necessarily mean that an article must be highly cited as well