As part of our commitment to publishing impactful research that helps to influence and inform policy, practice, and the public, Sage has committed to the five principles for publishers outlined in the Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA). As a result of our obligation, we make article-level metrics available to encourage assessment based on the content of the article rather than a journal’s publication metrics. We reduce emphasis on Impact Factor as a promotional tool and present a variety of metrics for researchers to use to assess a journal’s performance.
This page is your primer on what journal and article metrics are and how to use them.
Journal and article metrics serve as tools for evaluating research. They offer a standardized way to gauge the quality and impact of academic work. These metrics can help ensure researchers receive recognition for their valuable contributions and aid institutions and funders in making efficient resource allocations. Universities, funding organizations, and researchers themselves may use metrics to inform decisions. Journal metrics provide a quick assessment of a journal's influence, while article-level metrics help determine the impact of individual research papers. Metrics help maintain transparency and fairness in scholarly publishing.
A journal's metrics page includes downloads and impact data from abstracting and indexing services like Google Scholar, Journal Citation Reports, and Scopus (where available). This comprehensive approach offers a more complete picture of a journal's performance. You can access a journal’s metrics page by visiting the journal homepage and following the “Journal indexing and metrics” link under the “Journal Information” menu.
A journal’s article-level metrics, including downloads and citations, offer valuable insights into a researcher’s contribution to the discipline and the wider community. You can access an article’s metrics page by visiting the article and selecting “Metrics and citations” in the top navigation menu.
Readership metrics are included on the journal’s metrics page along with individual article pages.
Peer Review and Production
Where available, average peer review decision speed, production speed, and acceptance ratio can be provided to editors.
Developed by Scopus and using their dataset, the SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) metric expresses the average number of weighted citations received in the selected year by the documents published in the selected journal in the three previous years, i.e. weighted citations received in year X to documents published in the journal in years X-1, X-2 and X-3. Read the SCImago description of SJR and visit the Scopus website for more information.
Google Scholar metrics
Google Scholar metrics provide a comprehensive compilation of citation numbers for a wide range of publications. This allows authors to measure the visibility and influence of a journal. Indexed publications are assigned three available metrics based on content published in the last five completed calendar years:
Clarivate Analytics and Journal Citation Reports (JCR) metrics
Clarivate Analytics (formerly Thomson Reuters) runs four separate journal indexing services: Social Science Citation Index, Science Citation Index Expanded, Arts & Humanities Citation Index and Emerging Sources Citation Index. Through these indexes Clarivate collects information (e.g., journal details, article titles, authors, abstracts, reference lists etc.) on articles published in a select group of journals worldwide. Visit Clarivate’s website for further information regarding the journal selection process and criteria.
Clarivate uses this information to build the online database Web of Science. Clarivate also uses this information to perform various other services, the most prominent of which is the annual publication online of the Journal Citation Reports (JCR).
Journal Citation Reports
The Journal Citation Reports (JCR) analyzes the citation data retrieved from Web of Science and uses it to calculate various metrics, the most widely referenced of which is the Impact Factor. In this way, JCR seeks to rank individual journals according to the frequency by which recent content has been cited. You can find more information on JCR, including user guides and references, on Clarivate’s website.
Brief descriptions of JCR metrics:
Alternative metrics are becoming increasingly visible in scholarly publishing. Altmetric tracks online mentions of journal articles across online platforms and uses an algorithm to score accordingly. The Altmetric Attention score is a helpful measure of online engagement and visibility, but it is not directly linked to citations or usage.
Altmetric Attention Score: Weighted count of all the online attention Altmetric has found for an individual research output. This includes mentions in public policy documents and references in Wikipedia, the mainstream news, social networks, blogs, and more. This is the number that appears in the badges.
Visit Sage’s Policy Profiles tool to discover where your research is being cited in policy documents.
Crossref: Crossref tracks the total number of citations linked to a publication. Citations must come from publications registered with Crossref.
Usage: Article usage counts all views and downloads for that article. This can be found in the Metrics and citation section on an article’s webpage.
Journal and article-level impact metrics play a pivotal role in assessing the influence and significance of scholarly work. Journal-level metrics can aid researchers in gauging the prominence of a journal within their field. Article-level metrics, including citation counts, download statistics, and Altmetric score offer insights into the impact of individual research papers. By analyzing these metrics, researchers and editors can identify trends and topics of interest.
Improving journal and article-level impact metrics requires a multi-faceted approach aimed at enhancing the quality, visibility, and engagement of scholarly work. In both cases, fostering a culture of collaboration, transparency, and continuous improvement within the academic community can contribute to sustained growth in impact metrics. It's important to note that while metrics provide valuable insights, the goal remains the generation of meaningful and influential research.
As an author, there are several ways to boost your article’s impact before and after publication.
When preparing for submission, you can consider:
Striving for open-access publication can enhance visibility and accessibility, making your research available to a broader audience. Visit Sage’s Open Access Publishing Gateway to see our Open Access options.
Publication is not the end of the process! You can help disseminate your paper and ensure it is as widely read and cited as possible by:
Impact metrics assist editors in evaluating the success of specific initiatives or changes made to the journal's format or scope. By monitoring how these changes correlate with shifts in impact metrics, you can make informed adjustments to enhance the journal's standing and relevance. Impact metrics empower you to make data-driven decisions that optimize the journal's impact, reputation, and contribution to the scholarly community, all while fostering an environment that supports rigorous and influential research.
For journal-level impact, you can focus on curating a diverse range of high-quality content that addresses emerging research trends and challenges. Implementing rigorous peer review processes and maintaining ethical publishing standards will foster credibility and attract top-tier submissions. Collaborations with well-respected researchers and institutions can also elevate a journal's reputation. Engaging in strategic marketing efforts, such as social media promotion and conference presence, can broaden the journal's reach and readership. Visit DORA’s website for research impact strategies and resources.
Visit Sage's Editor Gateway for more information on citation strategies for your journal, such as: