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Graduate Student Guide


Scopus is a large abstract and citation database covering more than 15,000 peer-reviewed journals from over 4,000 international publishers. It contains scientific, technical, medical and social sciences literature, and has recently also included literature in the arts and humanities fields.

For best results using Scopus, first create an account.

Scopus offers tools to track, analyze and visualize research. One of them is the "Compare Sources" tool, which provides quick and easy view of journal performance. Compare up to 10 journals at one time. Full citation data are available from 1996 and are updated every two months.

To access "Compare Sources" tool:

Access Scopus - from library webpage select Databases by Title, select S, select Scopus

Select "Compare sources" 


Search for a journal by title, ISSN, or publisher. 

From the result list, select your desired journal(s) to add it to chart on the right for comparison. Up to 10 journals can be added.

Journals can be evaluated using various parameters, including three journal ranking metrics "CiteScore", "SJR" and "SNIP".



The impact values in Scopus are calculated based on 3 years' citation data. CiteScore (Impact per Publication), SJR (SCImago Journal Rank), and SNIP (Source Normalized Impact per Paper) are the impact metrics used in Scopus.

 CiteScore Metrics (Impact per Publication):                                                                         



Measures the citations received in the reference year to the documents published in the 3-year citation period divided by the number of documents published in those 3 years. Includes all document types both in the citation count in the numerator and in the publication count in the denominator. This provides a fair impact measurement of the journal and diminishes the chance of manipulation.


 SJR (SCImago Journal Rank):                                                                                             



SJR is also called the "prestige" metrics, because in addition to the number of citations that a journal attracts, this metric also considers the prestige or quality of the citing journal. Note that the prestige of a citing journal is determined by the number of citations to this journal. Thus, the calculation of SJR is an iterative process.

SJR also addresses different citation behaviors in different subject fields by allowing a journal's prestige to be shared equally between its citations. An arts and humanities journal with fewer citations, for example, has higher value for each of its citations. A science and engineering journal with more citations has lower value for each of its citations.

SJR also limits the number of self-citations to a maximum of 33%. 


 SNIP (Source Normalized Impact per Paper):                                                                      



SNIP measures the contextual citation impact by weighting citations based on the total number of citations in a subject field. It considers the citation potential (i.e. the likelihood of being cited) in a journal's subject field - including citing frequency, immediacy, and database coverage.

Each citation to a journal is weighted depending on the prestige of the source it comes from. A citation by a journal with a high prestige is valued highly, while a citation by a less influential journal is worth less.

For example, a life science journal tends to have higher citation counts, and at the same time higher citation potential. On the other hand, an arts & humanities journal is likely to have lower citation counts and also lower citation potential. Because of this, the citation impact can be normalized, and direct comparisons of journals across subject disciplines is therefore possible.


Credit: City University of Hong Kong and Run Run Shaw Library

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