Measures of journal prestige are important to both authors and the journals themselves. While authors want to submit articles to the most prestigious journal in their area of research as the journal’s reputation reflects on them, journals want to have a high ranking as it helps them attract more and better quality submissions. Currently, for ranking journals, there are several ranking systems and each of them uses a different criteria. The SCImago Journal Rank is one such measure of journal prestige, which is considered among the most useful.
How SCImago Ranks
The SCImago Journal Rank (also known as SJR indicator) measures journal prestige by the following method. Journals are ranked in the order of the “average prestige per article,” which is based on 1) the citations that the journal receives and 2) the prestige of the journals that are being cited within the published articles. At the beginning, every journal starts with an equal prestige factor; however, the first iteration of the calculation produces a first order SJR indicator, which is used to calculate a second order SJR indicator, and so on, until the value converges to a specific value. The algorithm developed by SCImago is based on the widely known algorithm, Google PageRank™. The indicator shows the visibility of the journals contained in the Scopus® database from 1996.
What SCImago Tells Us
Like impact factor, but unlike Eigenfactor, SCImago is an average value per article. So, it does not necessarily indicate the importance of the journal—a large journal may have the same SCImago value as a much smaller one. Thus, the scientific journal Aldrichimica Acta has a higher SJR than Angewandte Chemie, even though the latter receives 300 times more citations. The SJR indicates that although Aldrichimica Acta publishes relatively few articles, the quality of articles are better than those in the larger journal.
How Do the Rankings Rank?
A comparison of the SCImago, impact factor, and Eigenfactors of three scientific journals is shown below.
The orderings of rank are the same in all of these cases, though Eigenfactor gives Nature a much larger relative score and impact factor gives the journal a somewhat higher score. Nevertheless, based on the numbers, SCImago provides a better measure of a journal’s prestige than impact factor or Eigenfactor.