Journal citation metrics & ranking tools

Journal citation metrics help you identify the highly cited journals in your field. They can be sourced from journal ranking tools and publisher websites.

  • All citation metrics have strengths and limitations - use a range of indicators
  • Journal ranking tools use different metrics and cover different journals
  • Citation rates vary widely in disciplines - only compare journal metrics within a discipline or sub-discipline
  • Some discipline areas are under-represented in mainstream metrics and have separate ranking lists
  • High citation rates are not necessarily measures of quality

Journal metrics

Journal-level citation metrics indicate the citation impact of a journal title. This section outlines several key metrics. Consult our downloadable guide for further information and access details.

Journal impact factor (JIF)

  • Represents the average citations a document in a journal receives for items published in the previous two years.
  • Shows how highly cited the average document in a journal is relative to others in its discipline.


  • Represents the average number of citations received in a year to documents published in the previous three years.
  • Shows how highly cited the average article in a journal is relative to others in its discipline.

SCImago journal rank (SJR)

  • A ratio of the average number of weighted citations received in a year over the number of documents published in the journal in the previous three years.
  • Accounts for the number of citations received by a journal and the importance or prestige of the journal where the citations come from.

h-index (Hirsch index) 

  • A journal's h-index is the number of articles in a journal [h] that have received at least [h] citations over a citation period.
  • Accounts for quantity (number of articles) and quality (defined as number of citations).

Journal ranking lists and databases

Further information