SCImago Journal Rank (SJR): An overview

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) is a leading metric used to assess the impact and influence of scientific journals. Developed by the SCImago research group, the SJR indicator is based on the Scopus database and offers a sophisticated alternative to other journal metrics such as Impact Factor and CiteScore. The following is an in-depth explanation of SJR, how it works, and its significance in the academic world.

What is SJR?

SJR is a ranking measure of scholarly journals calculated from the number of citations received by an article in a journal taking into account the rank (quality) of the journal where the citations originated. SJR provides a quantitative and qualitative measure of a journal’s impact, emphasizing the number of times a journal is cited and the significance of those citations.

How is SJR calculated?

Calculating SJR involves a complex algorithm that assigns a different weight to each citation. The weight depends on the source the citation comes from. Here is a simplified explanation of the process:

  1. Citation analysis: the number of citations a journal receives over three years is analyzed.
  2. Source normalization: citations are weighted based on the prestige of the citing journal. Citations from highly prestigious journals have more weight than citations from less well-known journals.
  3. Measure independence: this measure is normalized for differences in citation behavior across disciplines, allowing for fair comparisons across fields.

The resulting SJR value reflects both the number of citations and the influence of the citation source, providing a balanced indicator of journal impact. SCImago attempts to normalize its rankings to account for differences in citation behavior among different disciplines. The rating scale makes everything 1.0 for easy comparison. Journals with SJR values >1.0 have above-average citation potential and journals with SJR values <1.0 have below-average citation potential.

Is SJR important?

SJR is very important for several reasons:

  1. Journal evaluation: SJR provides a reliable measure of a journal’s prestige and influence, helping researchers identify high-impact journals to publish in.
  2. Institutional assessment: universities and research institutes use SJR to evaluate the performance of their faculty and research output.
  3. Funding decisions: funding agencies and policymakers can use SJR as a criterion to assess the quality of research outputs in grant applications and allocation of research funds.
  4. Library management: librarians use SJR to make informed decisions regarding journal subscriptions, ensuring access to high-quality and impactful research.

Comparison of SJR with other metrics

SJR offers several advantages over other metrics, including:

  • Quality over quantity: SJR emphasizes citation quality over quantity, providing a more nuanced view of a journal’s impact.
  • Fair comparison across disciplines: the discipline normalization feature allows for a fairer comparison across different fields.
  • Longer citation window: the three-year citation window captures a broader period of influence, thus providing a more comprehensive view of a journal’s impact.


SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) is a valuable tool for assessing journal influence and quality. Its sophisticated approach of weighting citations by source and normalizing for disciplinary differences makes it a robust and reliable metric.

By: I. Busthomi