Publishing metrics

The range of models used to measure the impact of journals and articles is constantly increasing, though most are based on the level of citations. As a signatory to DORA, the Royal Society offers a variety of journal and article-based metrics.

Transformative Journals

Our four research journals, Proceedings AProceedings BBiology Letters and Interface are Transformative Journals moving to a fully open access model when 75% of articles are being published open access. We report their progress here.

Open access advantage

Authors who choose open access publication are likely to benefit from increased dissemination and citation. This table compares citations, usage and Altmetric scores of subscription and open access content for articles published in our Transformative Journals in 2021. The data shows that open access papers received on average 29% more citations, 60% more downloads and 34% higher Altmetric scores than subscription articles. Data recorded 17/01/2023.

Journal Average number of citations for subscription articles published in 2021 Average number of citations for OA articles published in 2021 Average number of downloads for subscription articles published in 2021 Average number of downloads for OA articles published in 2021 Average Altmetric score for subscription articles published in 2021 Average Altmetric score for OA articles published in 2021
Biology Letters  4.3

4.7

1446 4137 61 92
Interface 5.8  8.1 1080 2386 43 57
Proceedings A 3.5 8.0 303 2378 6 35
Proceedings B 6.0 7.2 2127 3481 69 86

Impact factor

The impact factor is a measure of how often an average article in a journal has been cited. It is calculated by dividing the number of current year citations to source items published in that journal during the previous 2 years.

While the impact factor is a relatively easy measure to calculate and understand, it does have some limitations. Given the highly skewed nature of the citation distribution of a journal's articles, the appropriateness of using a mean has been questioned. Also, most journals contain a significant proportion of articles that are never cited. Such articles can be seen as ‘benefiting’ unfairly from the impact factor of the journal in which they appear.

Journal 2022 Impact Factor Rank 5 Year Impact Factor Cited Half-Life Immediacy Index
Proceedings A 3.5
28 out of 73 in ‘Multidisciplinary Sciences’ 3.4
19.3 0.7
Proceedings B 4.7 19 out of 92 in ‘Biology’ 5.2 10.6 1.0
Philosophical Transactions A 5.0 19 out of 73 in ‘Multidisciplinary Sciences’ 4.6 9.5 2.2
Philosophical Transactions B 6.3
11 out of 92 in ‘Biology’ 7.2 10.7 3.4
Interface 3.9 24 out of 73 in ‘Multidisciplinary Sciences’ 4.8
8.1 1.0
Biology Letters 3.3
32 out of 92 in ‘Biology’ 3.7
9.0 0.8
Interface Focus 4.4
21 out of 92 in ‘Biology’ 4.6
6.0 2.6
Open Biology 5.8 63 out of 285 in ‘Biochemistry and Molecular Biology’ 6.5 4.5 9.8
Royal Society Open Science 3.5 28 out of 73 in ‘Multidisciplinary Sciences’ 3.5
4.1 0.8
Notes and Records              0.4 48 out of 62 in ‘History and Philosophy of Science’ 0.4 16.3  0.1
  • 5 year impact factor: is the impact factor calculated using a base of 5 years’ worth of cited articles, rather than 2. This gives a fairer picture of journals in fields with slower citation patterns, such as mathematics.
  • Cited half-life: the number of years, counting back from the current year, which account for half the total citations received by the cited journal in the current year. This provides a measure of how ‘long-lived’ the articles are in terms of their influence on the literature.
  • Immediacy index: the average number of times that an article is cited in the same year it is published. It gives an indication of how topical the material in the journal is.

Eigenfactor

The Eigenfactor gives an indication of the overall contribution of the journal, as a whole, to the literature.

It does this using an algorithm similar to that of Google's ‘PageRank’ to count citations into and out of the journal and to weight them according to the ranking of the source or destination. It uses the Thomson Reuters journal dataset and it is intended to measure how likely a journal is to be used or the amount of time a reader will spend reading it. Large journals rank more highly in the Eigenfactor system than small journals (in contrast to the impact factor, which is independent of size).

Journal 2022 Eigenfactor Eigenfactor Rank Article Influence Article Influence Rank
Proceedings A 0.0136
15 out of 71 in ‘Multidisciplinary Sciences’ 1.094 18 out of 71 in ‘Multidisciplinary Sciences’
Proceedings B 0.04607
3 out of 93 in ‘Biology’ 2.071 10 out of 93 in ‘Biology’
Philosophical Transactions A 0.02021
11 out of 71 in ‘Multidisciplinary Sciences’ 1.406 15 out of 71 in ‘Multidisciplinary Sciences’
Philosophical Transactions B 0.04371
4 out of 93 in ‘Biology’ 2.656 8 out of 93 in ‘Biology’
Interface 0.01767 12 out of 71 in ‘Multidisciplinary Sciences’ 1.513 12 out of 71 in ‘Multidisciplinary Sciences’
Biology Letters 0.01033 11 out of 93 in ‘Biology’ 1.309 17 out of 93 in ‘Biology’
Interface Focus 0.00438 27 out of 93 in 'Biology' 1.237 18 out of 93 in ‘Biology’
Open Biology 0.00987 104 out of 297 in ‘Biochemistry and Molecular Biology’ 1.542 59 out of 297 in ‘Biochemistry and Molecular Biology’
Royal Society Open Science 0.03113 13 out of 71 in ‘Multidisciplinary Sciences’ 0.915 21 out 71 in ‘Multidisciplinary Sciences’
  • Article influence: measures the relative importance of the journal on a per-article basis. It is the journal's Eigenfactor Score divided by the fraction of articles published by the journal. That fraction is normalised so that the sum total of articles from all journals is 1. The mean Article Influence Score is 1.00. A score greater than 1.00 indicates that each article in the journal has above-average influence. A score less than 1.00 indicates that each article in the journal has below-average influence.

Scopus metrics

Journal 2022 CiteScore Scopus Rank SNIP
Proceedings A 5.5 17 out of 387 in ‘Mathematics’ 1.474
Proceedings B 8.4 16 out of 213 in ‘General Agricultural and Biological Sciences’ 1.496
Philosophical Transactions A 8.1 7 out of 387 in ‘Mathematics' 1.42
Philosophical Transactions B 12.0 10 out of 213 in ‘General Agricultural and Biological Sciences’ 1.629
Interface 7.2 28 out of 143 in ‘Biophysics’ 1.305
Biology Letters 6.3 16 out of 147 in ‘Agricultural and Biological Sciences’ 1.135
Interface Focus 8.2 20 out of 143 in 'Biophysics' 1.0
Open Biology 9.3 33 out of 212 in ‘Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology’ 1.384
Royal Society Open Science 6.0 16 out of 134 in ‘Multidisciplinary’ 1.173
  • CiteScore: Very much like the Impact Factor except that it is based on the larger Scopus dataset and uses 3 years of data. It is the number of citations received by a journal in one year to documents published in the three previous years, divided by the number of documents indexed in Scopus published in those same three years.
  • Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP): Measures contextual citation impact by weighting citations based on the total number of citations in a subject field. The impact of a single citation is given higher value in subject areas where citations are less likely, and vice versa.

Altmetrics

Altmetrics are non-traditional metrics proposed as an alternative to citation impact metrics.

We use a partner organisation called Altmetric to track and display the online activity around an article. Altmetric track social media sites, newspapers and magazines for mentions of each published article. The aim is to help authors quantify the attention their article is receiving and to help readers establish the articles their peers think are interesting.

The Altmetric ‘doughnut’ can be found on the ‘Details’ tab of each article.

Publication times

We provide information on publication times, which are regularly updated.