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BIO323 Research Skills Guide: Journal ranking

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What are Journal Rankings?

Journal rankings or journal impact factors are used to measure and compare the influence of journals. Note that this measure applies at journal level, and not at article level.

Journal ranking information can be found using SJR (SCImago Journal & Country Rank), Scopus Journal Analyzer, Web of Science and Google Scholar Metrics.

Journal impact factors for individual journals may also be available from publishers' websites.

SJR (SCImago Journal Rank)

SCImago journal rankings (SJR) rank journals that are indexed in the Scopus Database. SJR measures the scientific influence of these scholarly journals, taking into account the number of citations received by a journal and the prestige of the journals where citations appear.

Scimago Journal & Country Rank example

For more information on SJR please see Research Impact: Journal ranking

Scopus Journal Analyzer

Scopus Journal Analyzer can be used to compare up to 10 journals indexed in the Scopus database.

Scopus Journal Analyzer example

For information on how Scopus compares journals please see: Scopus Support Center


Google Scholar Metrics

Google Scholar Metrics lists the top 100 journals in subject categories, these are ranked using the journal h-index.

Google Scholar Metrics example

For more information on the h-index please see: Research Impact: Author impact

For more information on Google Scholar Metrics please see: Google Scholar Metrics

Quartile Rankings in Web of Science

The Web of Science Database can be used to find the category and quartile impact factor rank of some journals. Quartile rankings are derived from journal impact factor data and journals are ranked within a subject category. Quartile 1 (Q1) is applied to the top 25% ranking journals in a particular subject category. Quartile 2 (Q2) is applied to journals whose rankings place them in the next 25%-50%, Quartile 3(Q3) is applied to those journals whose rankings place them in the 50%-75% distribution and Quartile 4 (Q4), the lowest position, is applied to those journals whose rankings place them in the bottom 25% distribution. 

To find a quartile ranking:

  • Type the name of your journal into the search box and click on Search
  • From the search results select one article by clicking the title

  • On the article's detail page click the View Journal Impact link

  • A dialogue box will open containing information about the journal, including the journal's category and it's quartile ranking

In our example above, the Aquatic Sciences journal is ranked quartile 1 (Q1), the top quartile ranking, in the subject categories for Environmental Sciences, Limnology and Marine & Freshwater Biology.


Keep in mind that every evaluation method has limitations. Limitations for journal impact factor (JIF) include:

  • JIF or journal rankings are not a measure of the quality of individual articles within a journal
  • Only research articles, technical notes and reviews are included in the calculation of JIF
  • Only a small percentage of articles are highly cited and they are generally only found in a small subset of journals
  • Controversial papers not necessarily based on good research may be highly cited, distorting the impact factor of a journal
  • Journal impact factors may be influenced by:
    • Self-citation (ie: articles citing other articles from the same journal);
    • Publication type (eg: review articles often attract more citations); and
    • Publication language (eg: an article written in English may receive more citations than one written in Icelandic).
  • The ranking of a journal by impact factor within a discipline is more important than the absolute value of the impact factor. In other words, a journal’s JIF should only be compared against other journals within the same subject discipline. This is because coverage varies between disciplines, affecting impact factor.

Charles Sturt University acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands on which its campuses are located, paying respect to Elders, both past and present, and extend that respect to all First Nations Peoples.Acknowledgement of Country

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