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CiteScore metrics for librarians interested in research performance

By Colleen DeLory, Elsevier | Dec 08, 2016

CiteScore Quick Reference Card

Download new versions of the Quick Reference Cards for Research Impact Metrics with the CiteScore card added.


Introduced on December 8, CiteScore™ metrics are a suite of research metrics for journal citation impact available in a free layer on Scopus, the largest abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature. You can read more on Elsevier Connect about the development and launch of CiteScore metrics: New metrics will make journal assessment more complete and transparent.


In this article, I’d like to focus on some of the key questions librarians will be asking and encourage you to submit any additional questions via the comments below or to



Are they for journals only?


CiteScore metrics are not only available for journals, but for any of the approximately 22,000 serially published sources indexed by Scopus. Those include conference proceedings, book series and trade journals, as well as journals. Check out the coverage of CiteScore compared with the Journal Impact Factor in the chart below. This wider coverage means you have more information available to help advise faculty, researchers and students (library users) about what to read and where to publish, and for your own collection development purposes.


Scopus serials: titles with only CiteScore or Impact Factor, or both



When do they come out?


CiteScore metrics will be released yearly in the spring and a monthly updating CiteScore Tracker will show progress of journals coming up to this annual release. 


The annual CiteScore metrics shown currently are for 2015, while 2016 values will be released in spring 2017. 


CiteScore Tracker presents an accumulating view of the development of citation impact across a serial over time; the document count won't change much, if at all, but as the citation count rises monthly, CiteScore Tracker will increase. By sharing CiteScore Tracker with your library users, you’ll be able to engage in some interesting conversations about citation development over time. 


Journal of Biomedical Science CiteScore



Where do I find CiteScore metrics?


You do not need a subscription to Scopus to find and use CiteScore metrics.


The serial-level metrics are available in a free layer of Scopus


In addition, dive deeper into the annual CiteScore numbers for groups of journals in the same subject field, or published by the same publisher. You can find these and additional filters to compare and contrast serially published material on the Scopus Journal Metrics website.


You can also download a spreadsheet of all CiteScore metrics values.


Bookmark these pages and share them with your library colleagues and library users.



How is CiteScore calculated?


As shown in the quick reference card, CiteScore is the number of citations received in one year for documents published in the previous three years divided by the number of documents published in the previous three years. Not only can you find CiteScore in Scopus, you can also click on the numerator and denominator to see the documents and citations that are used to calculate CiteScore Tracker. This ability to dig into the numbers is a great tool for transparency in scholarly communication!



How can I benchmark a CiteScore?


If library users want to benchmark a CiteScore number, you can encourage them to use CiteScore Percentile from the family of CiteScore metrics. The Scopus screenshot above shows the Journal of Biomedical Science has a CiteScore of 3.13. That puts it in the 84th percentile of the Biochemistry (medical) category; this means that it rates as high as, or higher than, 84 percent of titles in that subject category. You can also see that this journal is ranked 9 out of 56 journals in this category, so your users can judge that a CiteScore of 3.13 is good for this field by both CiteScore Percentile and Rank. 


It is also good practice to encourage your users to use the Two Golden Rules of research metrics for a balanced, multi-dimensional view for decision-making:


  1. Always use both qualitative and quantitative input in your decisions.
  2. Always use more than one research metric from the basket of metrics as the quantitative input.


CiteScore metrics were developed in context of a basket of metrics and are shown alongside SNIP and SJR to emphasize the importance of using more than one metric. 





Let us know if you have any questions about CiteScore metrics, or suggestions for how to use them in your library programs and services, in the comments below or email


What do you think belongs in a basket of metrics for research performance? Please take a few minutes to provide your opinion via this survey from Cambridge University Press, Elsevier, Emerald, the European Association of Science Editors (EASE) and Taylor & Francis.


Go to Survey