Scopus CiteScore: an overview

In academia, evaluating the impact and quality of scholarly journals is very important for researchers, institutions, and publishers. Created by indexing companies or related platforms, these lists are often created using objective calculations to assign a score to each journal. These scores are primarily focused on a journal’s average citation metric. These calculated metrics are often very detailed, with a wide range of data used to compare journals. Some examples of indexing ranking lists and their scores are journal citation reports (Web of Science) that generate impact factors; SCImago journal & country rank that generates SJR; and CiteScore metrics (Scopus).

What is Scopus CiteScore?

CiteScore is a metric that measures the average citations received by each document published in a journal. It is designed to provide a clear and easy indicator of a journal’s impact and quality in an academic environment. Scopus, managed by Elsevier, covers a wide range of disciplines and ensures comprehensive coverage of the scientific literature.

How is CiteScore calculated?

The CiteScore calculation is relatively simple and transparent. Here’s the basic formula:

To break it down:

  • Number of citations in a year: this is the number of citations received in a given year by all documents published in the journal in the previous three years.
  • Number of documents published in the previous three years: this includes all types of documents published in the journal (articles, reviews, conference papers, etc.) during the same three-year period.

For example, if a journal has 500 citations in 2023 for documents published between 2020 and 2022, and the journal published 100 documents during those three years, then its CiteScore for 2023 is 5.0.

Why is CiteScore important?

CiteScore is an important metric for several reasons:

  1. Journal quality assessment: helps researchers and librarians assess the quality and impact of journals. A higher CiteScore generally indicates higher impact and influence within a field.
  2. Publication decisions: researchers often use CiteScore to decide where to submit their work. A higher CiteScore can mean greater visibility and impact for their research.
  3. Institutional evaluation: universities and research institutes can use CiteScore to evaluate the performance of their faculty and departments based on where their members publish.
  4. Funding and grants: funding agencies can consider a journal’s CiteScore when assessing the quality of research output for grant applications.
  5. Free access to journal rankings (you do not need to subscribe to Scopus).
  6. Covers all disciplines.
  7. Transparent methodology: uses a transparent calculation methodology.


Scopus CiteScore is an invaluable tool for measuring the impact and quality of academic journals. Its transparent calculation method, broad coverage, and relevance across multiple disciplines make it a trusted metric in academia.

By: I. Busthomi