Unlocking the Mystery of Journal Rankings(Q1,Q2,Q3,Q4): A Comprehensive Guide

Journal Ranking

Introduction

A technique for rating academic journals’ quality and impact is known as a journal quality ranking system or journal ranking system. Providing a gauge of the relative importance and prestige of journals within a certain field of research is the main objective of a journal ranking system.

Researchers, universities, funding agencies, and other organisations employ a variety of different journal ranking systems. The most well-known journal ranking methods are as follows:

  • The Journal Citation Reports (JCR) from Clarivate Analytics, which uses the Impact Factor (IF) to rank journals. The Impact Factor is a measure of the number of citations received by a journal in a given year divided by the number of articles published in the journal in the previous two years.
  • The Scopus Journal Analyzer from Elsevier, which uses the SNIP (Source Normalized Impact per Paper) and the SJR (SCImago Journal Rank) metrics to rank journals. SNIP is a measure of the contextual citation impact of a journal and takes into account the number of citations received by a journal, the number of articles published in the journal, and the prestige of the journals citing the journal in question. SJR, on the other hand, is a measure of the prestige of a journal and also takes into account the number of citations received by a journal, the number of articles published in the journal, and the prestige of the journals citing the journal in question.
  • The Web of Science from Clarivate Analytics, which uses the Journal Impact Factor (JIF) to rank journals. JIF is similar to the Impact Factor and measures the average number of citations received by articles published in a journal in a given year divided by the number of articles published in the journal in the previous two years.
  • SCImago Journal & Country Rank (SJR) which use the same metric (SJR) as Scopus to evaluate the quality of journals and it is based on the number of citations, the number of articles and the prestige of the citing journals.

These methods use various measures and algorithms to rate journals, and each approach may produce different results. When analysing journal quality rankings, it’s critical to take into account the standards and constraints of each system.

Metrics used in Journal Ranking System

Impact Factor(IF)/Journal Impact Factor(JIF)

Typically, a journal ranking mechanism called the Journal Impact Factor is used to assess a journal’s quality (JIF). The JIF is a metric that gauges the typical number of citations received for each journal manuscript that is published. The JIF is computed by dividing the total number of papers published in a journal over the course of a given year by the total number of papers published in that journal over the course of the two years prior.

An article published in a journal in 2018 or 2019 obtained an average of 3.5 citations in 2020, for instance, if the JIF for that journal for 2020 was computed as 3.5.

Let’s say a journal produced 100 articles in total in 2018 and 2019 and 350 citations were made to those papers in 2020. We would reduce 350 by 100 to get the impact factor for the journal in 2020, which is 3.5. Therefore, the journal’s impact factor for 2020 would be 3.5.

Another illustration is a publication that published 120 articles in total in 2018 and 2019 and 400 citations in 2020. We would divide 400 by 120 to get the impact factor for the journal in 2020, which equals 3.33. Therefore, the journal’s impact factor for 2020 would be 3.33.

It’s important to remember that the impact factor is simply one indicator of a journal’s quality and shouldn’t be used as the sole criterion to assess a journal’s quality or the significance of a particular article. Other aspects including the journal’s scope, the people it caters to, and the significance and originality of the research it publishes should also be taken into account.

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Source Normalized Impact per Paper(SNIP)

A metric called SNIP (Source Normalized Impact per Paper) is used to assess the influence of journals in the area of academic research. It is created by Scopus Journal Analyzer, an Elsevier product.

A journal’s number of articles published, number of citations the journal has received, and prestige of publications referencing the subject journal are all factors considered while calculating SNIP. In order to compare journals in various fields on a more level playing field, the measure is normalised to account for the variations in citation patterns between nations and fields.

The total number of citations a journal received in a given year is divided by the number of articles it published in the previous three years to get SNIP, which is expressed as a ratio. The SNIP score is then calculated by multiplying the resulting ratio by the number of articles that were published in the journal in the previous three years.

The Journal Influence Factor (JIF), which is frequently used to assess the impact of journals, is thought of as a substitute for SNIP. The SNIP measure, in contrast to the JIF, accounts for the diversity in citation practises between different subjects and nations, giving it a more reliable and equitable method of comparing journals across various disciplines.

SJR (SCImago Journal Rank) Metric

A statistic called the SCImago Journal & Country Rank (SJR) seeks to gauge the relative significance of scientific journals. It is based on a journal’s total number of citations in the Scopus database, normalised by the journal’s total number of published documents and subject area.

The SJR score can be used to compare journals in various subject areas and is meant to indicate a journal’s standing within its field. It’s one of the measures Scopus employs to categorise journals into Q1, Q2, Q3, and Q4 groups.

SJR (SCImago Journal Rank) is a metric used to evaluate the impact of journals in the field of scholarly research. It is developed by SCImago Research Group, a research group based in Spain.

SJR is calculated by taking into account the number of citations received by a journal, the prestige of the journals citing the journal in question, and the number of articles published in the journal. The metric is normalized to take into account the differences in citation practices between fields and countries so that journals in different fields can be compared on a more level playing field.

SJR is computed by dividing the total number of citations a journal received in a particular year by the number of articles that the journal published in the previous three years. The result is expressed as a ratio. The SJR score is then calculated by multiplying the resulting ratio by the number of articles that were published in the journal in the previous three years.

The Source Normalized Influence per Paper (SNIP) and Impact Factor (IF) measures are comparable to SJR, however, SJR is based on a separate technique that is intended to provide a more accurate and robust depiction of the impact of journals. The prestige of the journals quoting the subject journal is also taken into account by SJR, whereas it is not in the IF or SNIP metrics.

SJR is widely used in academic research to evaluate the quality and impact of journals. It is available for free on the SCImago Journal & Country Rank website, where journals are ranked in several categories such as subject area, country, and publisher.

Journal Ranking Systems

Journal Citation Reports (JCR) Ranking System

Data on scholarly journals in the social sciences and sciences is provided by Clarivate Analytics (formerly Thomson Reuters’) Journal Citation Reports (JCR). It offers a variety of measures and covers thousands of journals from across the globe. One of these metrics is the Journal Impact Factor (JIF), which is a gauge of the typical number of citations earned in a given year by articles published in a certain journal over the two years prior. Other measures offered by JCR include the Eigenfactor score, the Cited Half-Life, and the Immediacy Index.

JCR is a popular tool in the academic world for assessing the value and influence of journals. Many funding agencies and institutions utilise JCR data to assess the research output of their staff. Researchers and librarians use JCR to find and compare publications in their discipline.

It is important to keep in mind that JCR only covers a portion of all journals and that not all journals will be included in the JCR database. As a result, JCR should not be considered the only method of evaluating journals, as Scopus and Web of Science have their own metrics and classification schemes that may differ slightly.

How the Cutoff Values are Calculated for Q1, Q2, Q3 and Q4?

The JCR chooses the cutoff values each year. They are determined by multiplying the total number of journals in a category by 4, then ordering the journals in that category according to impact factor. The journal with the highest impact factor is the highest-ranked journal in the first quartile (Q1), the second-highest impact factor is the highest-ranked journal in the second quartile (Q2), and so on.

It’s important to remember that the JCR is not the only classification scheme for journals because it only encompasses a portion of all journals and not all journals will be included in the JCR database. The cutoff values may slightly differ in some other databases with their own classification schemes, such as Scopus and Web of Science.

A journal’s JIF has dropped and it has moved to a lower category if it has been degraded. For instance, a journal that was formerly regarded as a Q1 journal but has since been degraded would now be regarded as a Q2 journal.

It’s critical to remember that JIF is not the only indicator of a journal’s quality. When evaluating a journal’s quality, other aspects can be considered as well, including the editorial board, the journal’s scope, and the rigorousness of the peer-review process.

How to check JCR based Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4 ?

The Web of Science database is used to provide data for the Journal Citation Reports (JCR). JCR is a creation of Clarivate Analytics, which also manages the Web of Science database and was formerly Thomson Reuters’ Intellectual Property and Science division.

A measure of the impact and influence of scholarly journals is provided by the JCR using data from the Web of Science database. This data includes details on the number of citations that articles published in the journal have received, the total number of articles published in the journal, and the standing of the journals that have cited the journal in question. JCR is a popular technique for evaluating the calibre of journals and is regarded as a trustworthy source of information when doing so.

JCR (Journal Citation Reports) is a database that provides a measure of a journal’s impact and influence in its field. JCR uses a variety of metrics, including the Journal Impact Factor (JIF), to classify journals into four tiers:

  1. Q1 (top 10% of journals in the field)
  2. Q2 (next 20% of journals in the field)
  3. Q3 (next 30% of journals in the field)
  4. Q4 (bottom 40% of journals in the field)

To check the JCR classification of a journal, you can follow these steps:

  1. Go to the JCR website (https://jcr.clarivate.com/)
  2. Click on the “By Journal” tab
  3. In the search bar, type in the name of the journal you want to check
  4. Click on the journal title from the search results
  5. Scroll down to the “Category Information” section to view the journal’s JCR classification

It’s important to note that JCR classification is based on the Journal Impact Factor (JIF) which is calculated based on the number of citations a journal receives in a given year. It’s just one of the metrics to evaluate a journal. Other factors such as the methodology, sample size, and results of the study are also important to consider when evaluating the research.

Scopus Journal Ranking System

The Scopus database, a premier abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature, offers the Scopus Journal Analyzer as one of its tools. Researchers, libraries, and publishers can use the tool to compare and analyze the performance of various journals.

Users of the Scopus Journal Analyzer can compare the performance of journals using a range of criteria, such as the number of papers produced, the number of citations per article, and the number of citations received. Additionally, users can contrast publications depending on their publisher, country of origin, and subject matter.

Use the Scopus Journal Analyzer tool to look up journals by name or ISSN and view ranking data, such as their percentile and quartile ranks (Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4), as well as their SJR and SNIP scores.

The SNIP (Source Normalized Impact per Paper) and SJR (SCImago Journal Rank) criteria are used to categorize journals in Scopus. The number of citations a journal receives, the number of articles it publishes, and the reputation of the journals that cite the journal in question are all factors considered by SNIP when calculating the contextual citation impact of a given journal.

SJR, on the other hand, measures a journal’s prestige by taking into account the number of citations it has received, the number of papers it has published, and the stature of journals that have cited it.

Based on the SNIP and SJR values, journals are then divided into quartiles. The most prestigious and influential journals are those published in Q1, whereas the least prestigious and least influential journals are those published in Q4.

It’s vital to remember that depending on the field or topic area, the quartiles used to group journals can change. Scopus classifies journals according to subject areas, therefore a journal in one field can be categorized as Q1, while the same journal in another field might be categorized as Q2.

It’s also crucial to note that Scopus categorizes journals into Q1, Q2, Q3, and Q4 categories based on how well they performed over a three-year period and that JCR and SJR are based on the current year’s performance.

To check a journal’s ranking in the Scopus database, one can go to the Scopus website (https://www.scopus.com/) and use the search function to find the journal in question. Once the journal’s page appears, the Quartile ranking will be listed under the “CiteScore” heading.

The CiteScore is a measure of the average number of citations received in a particular year by all papers published in that journal during the three preceding years. The quartile ranking is based on this metric. The journal is divided into 4 quartiles, Q1, Q2, Q3, and Q4, based on their CiteScore.

Q1 represents the top 25% of journals in a particular field, Q2 represents the next 25% of journals in a particular field, Q3 represents the next 25% of journals in a particular field and Q4 represents the bottom 25% of journals in a particular field.

To check a journal’s quartile ranking using the Scopus Journal Analyzer, you can follow these steps:

  1. Go to the Scopus website (https://www.scopus.com/)
  2. Click on the “Journal Analyzer” link on the top menu
  3. Enter the name of the journal you want to check in the search bar
  4. Select the journal from the search results
  5. Scroll down to the “Journal Metrics” section on the journal’s page
  6. You will find the quartile ranking under the “CiteScore Quartile” or “SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) Quartile”

Keep in mind that the Scopus Journal Analyzer can be accessed only by subscribing institutions or individuals, if you are not one of them, you can try searching for the journal in the Scopus database and see if you can see the quartile ranking.

How Scopus Ranks Journals to Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 ?

Scopus, a product of Elsevier, uses a different methodology to classify journals into quartiles (Q1, Q2, Q3, and Q4) than the Journal Citation Reports (JCR) and the SCImago Journal Rank (SJR).

The classification of journals in Scopus is based on the SNIP (Source Normalized Impact per Paper) and the SJR (SCImago Journal Rank) metrics. SNIP measures the contextual citation impact of a journal, taking into account the number of citations received by a journal, the number of articles published in the journal, and the prestige of the journals citing the journal in question.

SJR, on the other hand, is a measure of the prestige of a journal and takes into account the number of citations received by a journal, the number of articles published in the journal, and the prestige of the journals citing the journal in question.

Journals are then classified into quartiles based on their SNIP and SJR values. Q1 journals are considered to be the most prestigious and have the highest impact, while Q4 journals are considered to be the least prestigious and have the lowest impact.

It’s important to note that the classification of journals into quartiles can vary depending on the field or subject area. Scopus provides a subject area-specific classification of journals, which means that a journal in one field may be classified as Q1, while the same journal in another field may be classified as Q2.

It’s also important to mention that Scopus classifies journals in Q1, Q2, Q3 and Q4 based on their performance over a period of three years, JCR and SJR are based on the current year’s performance.

Web of Science Journal Ranking System

Web of Science, also known as the Web of Knowledge, is a database of academic literature provided by Clarivate Analytics. It is a widely used tool for academic research and is known for its high-quality data and advanced search capabilities.

Web of Science uses the Journal Citation Reports (JCR) to rank journals. The JCR is an annual publication that provides data and rankings for academic journals in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities. The JCR uses a two-part methodology to rank journals, which includes the Impact Factor (IF) and the Eigenfactor Score (ES).

The Impact Factor (IF) is a measure of the average number of citations that articles published in a journal receive. It is calculated by dividing the number of citations in a given year to articles published in the previous two years by the number of articles published in those two years. The IF is widely used to evaluate the relative importance of a journal within its field.

The Eigenfactor Score (ES) is a measure of the relative importance of a journal within the scientific community. It is based on the principle that the importance of a journal is proportional to the number of articles it publishes that are cited in other journals. T

he ES is calculated by considering the number of citations received by articles published in a journal as well as the number of citations received by the journals that cite it. This results in a score that takes into account both the quality and quantity of citations received by a journal.

Web of Science ranks journals in four categories: Q1, Q2, Q3, and Q4. These categories are based on the Impact Factor(IF) and Eigenfactor Score (ES) of each journal. Q1 journals are considered the most prestigious and have the highest IF and ES scores. Q4 journals are considered the least prestigious and have the lowest IF and ES scores.

Web of Science also provides other metrics such as the 5-Year Impact Factor, Immediacy Index, Cited Half-Life, Citing Half-Life and Article Influence Score which can be used to analyze the performance of the journal.

Web of Science classification of journals

Web of Science is a research database that provides metrics on a journal’s impact and influence in its field. Web of Science classifies journals into four categories based on the number of citations a journal receives, the number of articles published, and the prestige of the journals citing the journal in question. The classification system is:

  1. Q1: top 10% of journals in the field
  2. Q2: next 20% of journals in the field
  3. Q3: next 30% of journals in the field
  4. Q4: bottom 40% of journals in the field

To check the Web of Science classification of a journal, you can follow these steps:

  1. Go to the Web of Science website (https://www.webofknowledge.com/)
  2. Click on the “Journals” tab
  3. In the search bar, type in the name of the journal you want to check
  4. Click on the journal title from the search results
  5. Scroll down to the “Journal Profile” section to view the journal’s Web of Science classification

It’s important to note that the Web of Science classification is based on the number of citations a journal receives in a given year. Other factors such as the methodology, sample size, and results of the study are also important to consider when evaluating the research.

Scimago Journal Ranking System

SJR (SCImago Journal Rank) is a metric used to evaluate the impact of journals in the field of scholarly research. It is developed by SCImago Research Group, a research group based in Spain.

SJR is calculated by taking into account the number of citations received by a journal, the prestige of the journals citing the journal in question, and the number of articles published in the journal. The metric is normalized to take into account the differences in citation practices between fields and countries so that journals in different fields can be compared on a more level playing field.

SJR is expressed as a ratio and is calculated by dividing the total number of citations received by a journal in a given year by the number of articles published in that journal in the previous three years. The resulting ratio is then multiplied by the number of articles published in the journal in the previous three years, to give the SJR score.

SJR is similar to the Impact Factor (IF) and SNIP (Source Normalized Impact per Paper) metrics, but it is based on a different algorithm, which is designed to give a more accurate and robust representation of the impact of journals. SJR also takes into account the prestige of the journals citing the journal in question, which is not considered in the IF or SNIP metrics.

SJR is widely used in academic research to evaluate the quality and impact of journals. It is available for free on the SCImago Journal & Country Rank website, where journals are ranked in several categories such as subject area, country, and publisher.

How to check SCImago based Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4 ?

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) is a journal classification system developed by the SCImago Research Group. The system uses a combination of factors to classify journals, including the number of citations a journal receives, the number of articles published, and the prestige of the journals citing the journal in question.

SJR uses a four-tier classification system similar to JCR and Web of Science, where each journal is assigned an SJR score, and then journals are grouped into four quartiles based on the scores:

  1. Q1: top 25%
  2. Q2: next 25%
  3. Q3: next 25%
  4. Q4: bottom 25%

SJR also provides information on the H-index of a journal, which is a measure of the productivity and citation impact of the publications of a scientist or scholar.

The SJR classification system is freely available and it’s based on the Scopus database and it’s a good way to evaluate the scientific quality of the journal.

To check a journal ranking in the SCImago Journal & Country Rank (SJR) database, one can go to the SJR website (https://www.scimagojr.com/) and use the search function to find the journal in question. Once the journal’s page appears, the Quartile ranking will be listed under the “SJR” heading.

The SJR metric is a measure of a journal’s relative impact, taking into account both the number of citations received by a journal and the importance or prestige of the journals where such citations come from. The quartile ranking is based on this metric.

The journal is divided into 4 quartiles, Q1, Q2, Q3, and Q4, based on their SJR. Q1 represents the top 25% of journals in a particular field, Q2 represents the next 25% of journals in a particular field, Q3 represents the next 25% of journals in a particular field and Q4 represents the bottom 25% of journals in a particular field.

Comparison of Various Journal Ranking Systems

Classification strategies used by JCR, Web of Science, SCImago Journal Rank (SJR), and Scopus, as well as how Q1, Q2, Q3, and Q4 are calculated:

Classification SystemClassification StrategyHow Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4 are Calculated
JCR (Journal Citation Reports)Impact Factor (IF)JCR uses the IF to classify journals into four quartiles, Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4. Q1 includes the top 25% of journals with the highest IF, Q2 includes the next 25%, Q3 includes the next 25%, and Q4 includes the bottom 25%.
Web of ScienceNumber of citations, number of articles published, and the prestige of the journals citing the journal in questionWeb of Science classifies journals into four quartiles based on a combination of factors such as the number of citations, the number of articles published, and the prestige of the journals citing the journal in question. The journals in Q1 have the highest scores, followed by Q2, Q3 and Q4.
SCImago Journal Rank (SJR)Number of citations, number of articles published, and the prestige of the journals citing the journal in questionSJR uses the number of citations, the number of articles published, and the prestige of the journals citing the journal in question to classify journals into four quartiles, Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4, similar to Web of Science. Q1 includes the top 25% of journals with the highest SJR, Q2 includes the next 25%, Q3 includes the next 25%, and Q4 includes the bottom 25%.
ScopusNumber of citations, number of articles, and the prestige of the journals citing the journal in question, CiteScoreScopus classifies journals into four quartiles based on CiteScore. CiteScore is the ratio of the number of citations in a year to the number of documents published in the three previous years. Q1 includes the top 25% of journals with the highest CiteScore, Q2 includes the next 25%, Q3 includes the next 25%, and Q4 includes the bottom 25%.

It’s worth noting that each classification system has its own set of criteria and methods for calculating the quartiles, and the classification may vary depending on the field of study and the type of journal. Additionally, it’s also important to consider other factors such as the scope of the journal, the quality of the editorial board, the rigour of the peer-review process, the relevance of the research published, and the number of readership and citations of the journal when assessing the quality of a journal.

I published my paper in a Journal when it was in Q1 and now it is in Q2: What should I indicate against my Research Paper( Q1 or Q2)?

When describing your paper, you should indicate the category that the journal was in at the time of your publication. If your paper was published in a journal that was considered to be a Q1 journal at the time of publication, you should refer to it as a Q1 paper. If the journal was later downgraded to a Q2 journal, it does not change the fact that your paper was published in a Q1 journal at the time.

It is important, to be honest, and transparent about the journal in which your paper was published. If the journal has been downgraded since the publication of your paper, you may want to include a note or a disclaimer that indicates that the journal was considered to be a Q1 journal at the time of publication, but is now considered to be a Q2 journal.

It’s also worth noting that, if you have the opportunity to update your CV or resume, it is a good idea to include the journal ranking at the time of your publication as well as the current ranking. This gives a clear picture of where the journal was at the time of publication, and where it stands currently.

Conclusion

There are different ways to check a journal’s ranking, including using databases such as Scopus, JCR (Journal Citation Reports) and Web of Science. Each of these databases uses different metrics to rank journals, such as SNIP and SJR for Scopus, Impact Factor for JCR and CiteScore for Web of Science.

It’s also important to note that the journal ranking system is not linear, but it is based on the field of the journal. Therefore, it is recommended to use different ranking databases and metrics to have a comprehensive understanding of the journal’s reputation and impact.

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Vijay Rajpurohit
Author: Vijay Rajpurohit
Vijay Rajpurohit is a researcher in Computer Science. He loves to educate researchers and research scholars on Research Paper Writing, Thesis Writing, Research Grants, Patenting Research Work and the latest Research-related issues. You can reach him @ [email protected]