What Does CiteScore Tell You About a Journal?

By Grace Hamburger on Jan 10, 2020
eContent Pro
What Does CiteScore Tell You About a Journal?

Ranking journals with a numerical value is a fairly new idea. For years, the impact factor was the only means of measuring a journal’s influence, until December 2016 when Scopus announced an alternative. CiteScore covers journals from over 5,000 publishers and aims to point Academics in the right direction when searching for reputable, popular journals. So how does CiteScore calculate impact, and what are the pros and cons of this ranking metrics?

What is CiteScore?

Like the impact factor, CiteScore is a means to measure the average citations for a journal. This is calculated by the number of citations within the past three years divided by the number of all items published in the same years. The higher the CiteScore, the more valuable the journal is deemed to be. All documents that are indexed by Scopus are in CiteScore, including not only articles but letters, notes, conference papers, and reviews. CiteScore is calculated on an annual basis and shows the average citations for a full calendar year. The CiteScore metrics includes eight indicators: CiteScore, CiteScore Tracker, CiteScore Percentile, CiteScore Quartiles, CiteScore Rank, Citation Count, Document Count, and Percentage Cited.


CiteScore is a comprehensive number that defines a journal’s impact using all forms of documents, meaning that Academics who are interested in more than articles could find more value in this rank. Coupled with the large number of publishers that are covered in CiteScore means that the reach is broader and more inclusive than the impact factor. The CiteScore algorithm is clearly defined and readily available for Academics to check, and this transparency means that there are no surprises in the final number. There is even a way to view CiteScore “live”: The CiteScore Tracker gives users an opportunity to check updated citation rates on a monthly basis. Plus, CiteScore is free to view at any time, and this unencumbered access to up-to-date figures is a huge selling point (pun intended).


The vast number of journals that CiteScore cover could be an advantage, but this could also be a disadvantage. This gives smaller journals the opportunity to be pulled to the top alongside huge names in publishing, which might dilute the quality of these outcomes. Recently, there has also been a question of standards in CiteScore’s results. Nature Publishing Group is a large publisher with many journals that have high-ranking impact factors, yet their CiteScore is on the lower side. In contrast, Elsevier and Emerald, who have direct working relationships with Scopus and CiteScore, tend to dominate the top of the charts. This could merely be a coincidence, but this does bring into question some of the legitimacy of the numbers.

Is CiteScore a true, legitimate formula for analyzing journal impact, or is it an advancement tool? Time will tell what CiteScore means for the Academic community. Once you find an accredited journal to submit your manuscript, give it the final touches with eContent Pro’s English language copy editing service. Ensure you have the smoothest submission process possible!

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