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.

Journal OA target for 2023 No. of research articles published in 2023 Published OA in 2023 OA actual for 2023 2023 TJ target met [Yes/No]
OA target for 2024 
Biology Letters 56%  175 99  57%  Yes  66%
Journal of the Royal Society Interface 65%  216  142  66%  Yes  76%
Proceedings of the Royal Society A 46%  243  113  47%  Yes  54%
Proceedings of the Royal Society B 59%  560  337  60%  Yes

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 2022. The data shows that open access papers received on average 100% more citations and 116% more downloads than subscription articles. Of all articles published in 2022, 99 of the top 100 articles by Altmetric score were open access. Data recorded January 2024.

Journal Average number of citations for subscription articles published in 2022 Average number of citations for OA articles published in 2022 Average number of downloads for subscription articles published in 2022 Average number of downloads for OA articles published in 2022 Average Altmetric score for subscription articles published in 2022 Average Altmetric score for OA articles published in 2022
Biology Letters 2


1040 1667 14 19
Interface 3 4 642 1423 2 6
Proceedings A 1 2 256 952 2 3
Proceedings B 3 5 1150 2618 15 15

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 2023 Impact Factor Rank 5 Year Impact Factor Cited Half-Life Immediacy Index
Proceedings A 2.9 31/134 Multidisciplinary Sciences 3.2
19.1 0.6
Proceedings B 3.8 18/109 Biology 4.7 11.1 0.8
Philosophical Transactions A 4.3 23/134 Multidisciplinary Sciences 4.3 9.8 1.9
Philosophical Transactions B 5.4 12/109 Biology 6.3 11.3 2.8
Interface 3.7 26/134 Multidisciplinary Sciences 4
8.7 0.9
Biology Letters 2.8 32/109 Biology 3.4 9.4 0.7
Interface Focus 3.6 21/109 Biology 4.4
6.7 1.5
Open Biology 4.5 76/313 Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 5.9 4.6 0.8
Royal Society Open Science 2.9 31/134 Multidisciplinary Sciences 3
4.8 0.6
Notes and Records              0.4 64/104 History and Philosophy of Science 0.7 14.2 0.2
  • 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.


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 2023 Eigenfactor Article Influence
Proceedings A 0.01261
Proceedings B 0.04179 1.767
Philosophical Transactions A 0.01961 1.478
Philosophical Transactions B 0.03862 2.461
Interface 0.01451 1.322
Biology Letters 0.00977 1.212
Interface Focus 0.00326 1.403
Open Biology 0.00959 1.951
Royal Society Open Science 0.02542 0.864
  • 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 2023 CiteScore Scopus Rank SNIP
Proceedings A 5.5 17/387 Mathematics 1.474
Proceedings B 7.9 19/221 Agricultural and Biological Sciences 1.426
Philosophical Transactions A 9.3 4/399 Mathematics 1.42
Philosophical Transactions B 12.0 10/213 Agricultural and Biological Sciences 1.629
Interface 7.1 32/152 Biophysics 1.145
Biology Letters 5.5 23/193 Agricultural and Biological Sciences 1.016
Interface Focus 9.2 16/152 Biophysics 1.18
Open Biology 10 32/221 Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology 1.315
Royal Society Open Science 6.0 19/171 Multidisciplinary 1.051
Notes and Records 1.5 56/223 History and Philosophy of Science 0.685
  • 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 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.