Scopus Journal FAQs: Helping to improve the submission & success process for Editors & Publishers


Being indexed in Scopus is a major attainment for journals worldwide and achieving this success brings with it not only a measure of satisfaction but also assurance of the quality of your journal to other members of the scientific community.

Through interaction and discussion with journal editors, journal administration managers and publishers, we realized that it would be helpful if a set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) was made available for journal editors seeking to be indexed in Scopus.

To that end, to help improve the success of your submission to Scopus we have collated a number of FAQs for all stages of the Scopus submission process. Additionally, we conduct journal editors’ workshop together with the Subject Chairs from our Scopus Content Selection & Advisory Board (CSAB) across many regions of the world. For more information about Scopus and the CSAB, its scope and function, please click here.

The FAQs range from wanting to know what is expected of a journal title to detailed information about the journal aims and scope or policy. These FAQs also include those related to the Role of the Editor, which many new journal editors have requested to help them in their role. For more information on the ‘Role of an Editor’, please click here.

Please use the FAQs below as a guide and reference only. We have tried to make them as concise as possible but they are by no means definitive as roles and responsibilities differ from journal to journal. The FAQs are mainly addressed to Journal Editors, but where appropriate they may also meet the needs of Publishers given their overarching role in journal responsibility. We welcome feedback about the FAQs and their value and usefulness. If you think additional questions would be of benefit to editors and the publishing community, please send them to with the subject header ‘FAQs’.


For the purpose of these FAQs we have divided the Scopus journal selection criteria into a 2-stage process:


1.       Pre-submission and self-evaluation

2.       Scopus title evaluation

a.       Submission process

b.      Review decisions by the CSAB

STAGE 1: Pre-Submission and self-evaluation


1.               What journals are eligible for Scopus review?


All journals need to meet all of the minimum or eligibility criteria. A journal that fails on any

of these criteria will not be eligible for review.


Minimum Criteria:

·            The Journal should consist of peer-reviewed content

·            The Journal should be published on a regular basis (have an ISSN number that has been registered with the International ISSN Centre)

·            Content should be relevant and readable for an international audience (at minimum have references in Roman script and English language abstracts and article titles)

·            The Journal should have a publication ethics and publication malpractice statement


Additionally, it is general policy that a journal needs to have a publication history of at least two years before it can be reviewed for Scopus coverage (Stage 2).


2.               What is a peer reviewed article in a peer-reviewed journal?


In academic publishing, the goal of peer review is to assess the quality of articles submitted for publication in a scholarly journal by experts in a specific field of research. Before an article is deemed appropriate for publication in a peer-reviewed journal, it must undergo an evaluation process.

·         The author of the article must submit it to the journal editor who forwards the article to experts in the field, after it has been processed through the relevant journal submission system. Because the reviewers specialize in the same scholarly area as the author, they are considered the author’s peers (hence “peer-review”).

·         These impartial reviewers are charged with carefully evaluating the quality of the submitted manuscript, often using their own evaluation criteria to assist the review process.

·         The peer reviewers check a number of issues in the manuscript including assessing the validity of the research methodology and procedures. They would also be vigilant for any unethical practice in the research or plagiarism.

·         If appropriate, they may recommend revisions and re-submission of an article. In other cases they may recommend rejection for various reasons. The editor of a journal is reliant on its reviewers to offer guidance on whether to accept or reject an article.


More information:


3.               What are the different kinds of peer reviewed journals?


There are different types of peer review:


·        Main editor peer review: Only one (or two) main editor(s) review and select all the submitted articles for each issue.

·        Open peer review: Reviewers are aware of the identity of the authors, and authors are also aware of the identity of reviewers. There are at least three or more reviewers for the total number of articles in each issue.

·         Single-blind peer-review: Reviewers are aware of the identity of the authors, but authors are unaware of the identity of reviewers. There are at least three or more reviewers for the total number of articles in each issue.

·         Double-blind peer-review: Reviewers are unaware of the identity of the authors, and authors are also unaware of the identity of reviewers. There has to be at least two reviewers for the total number of articles in each issue, with many journals inviting more to ensure responsive feedback.


New formats of peer-review include post-publication peer review where the peer-review process takes place after a (preliminary version of the) article is published. Post-publication peer-review takes place online.



4.               What does inclusion in Scopus mean for a journal?


A journal that is suggested to Scopus and accepted for inclusion will:


·         Gain international visibility;

·         Increase the opportunity for collaboration with other researchers from around the world;

·         Increase the possibility of the article content having additional citations due to the enhanced accessibility;

·         Be contributing to the wider scholarly community in the specialist subject field.



5.               How important is it to know whether a journal is already being cited in Scopus?


Knowing whether a journal is already being cited in Scopus gives an idea of the impact it will have, should it be selected for Scopus coverage. The expected impact of a journal relative to other journals in its field is an aspect that is taken into account in the Scopus journal evaluation process. It is also a good indicator for authors to see the value of their research to others in their field.

6.               Why does the abstract of an article have to be published in English?


The main language of the international scientific community – and therefore also for Scopus users – is considered to be English. Therefore, all content of the records that are available in Scopus (title, abstract, keywords) need to be in English. Also indexing, profiling and processing of content in Scopus are based on the English language.

Please note that the full-text of titles covered in Scopus can be in any language as long as the title, abstracts and keywords are in English. Currently journals that have full-text content in 40 different languages are covered in Scopus.

7.               Should all articles be published in English as well as other languages?


As noted in the previous question, all abstracts must be in the English language. However, the full text of journals found in Scopus can be in any language. Currently, Scopus has titles that have full text content in 40 different languages. Many journals now have the facility to enable readers to read an English translation of their journal site as well as being able to

read a selection of published papers in English. Many journals are also including English translations of some of their authors work or publishing a few articles in English language, which enables international researchers to access the research directly, as well as encouraging dialogue and collaboration.

8.               What is a Publication Ethics and Publication Malpractice Statement?


The Publication Ethics and Publication Malpractice Statement is a statement which makes it clear that the Publisher adheres to a recognized Code of Conduct and ethical practice in relation to its own work and that of its journals.

This statement should include content based on the principles of an organization such as COPE, such as equality for all articles/authors by the Editor and Editorial team and journal reviewers; confidentiality; publication fraud; originality and plagiarism as well as notification of what action it would take if this is suspected; authorship rules and disclosures and conflict of interests.

See COPE Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing here.


9.               How can the editorial board check whether their journal is being cited by other journals already indexed in Scopus?

Scopus records contain the full reference lists of the article. So even if the journal is not in Scopus, it is possible to find citations by searching for the title in the references.

Search for the journal title in the references in Advanced search by using REFSRCTITLE( ).* Then select “View References” and narrow down for only references to the journal title you are interested in by using SRCTITLE(). This will give you a list of articles that are cited and the total number of citations found to them. Check if the results are really citations to the title you are looking for.


*Although it is possible to gain an approximate idea of the level of citations by using this method, the citation count may not be fully accurate. The methodology relies on the accuracy of text matching which is dependent on ambiguity, differences in use of abbreviations, typing errors and incomplete data. Carefully choose the words of the journal

title and check the results of what actually has been found. You may need to adjust the search a few times before you get the best results.


10.         Who should be nominated as the main handling editor of the journal?


The main handling Editor(s) should not just be in name only (that is not contributing to the journal editor role) nor should they be an ad hoc Editorial Board member; instead they need to involved with the journal and its management. It is highly recommended that the main handling editor (or Editor in Chief in some journals) take an active interest in wanting to raise the overall quality of the journal. Their involvement is often seen in their Editorials in some of the journal issues. This information will be part of the evaluation undertaken by the reviewers of the Scopus CSAB.

11.         Can conference proceedings be considered appropriate for submission to Scopus?


Conference proceedings are eligible for Scopus review if they are serial and meet all of the Scopus minimum journal selection criteria. Eligible conference proceedings are reviewed in the same way as journals.

12.         Can an Open Access journal be submitted for inclusion in Scopus?


All titles that meet the Scopus minimum journal selection criteria can be suggested for Scopus coverage, irrespective of the business model that is used for the journal.

Therefore Open Access journals can also be suggested for inclusion in Scopus which currently has more than 2,800 Open Access Journals indexed in its database

13.         Where can I find additional resources for Editors?


Here are several resource sites that editors can refer to:


·            Elsevier Editors’ home page: *) Topics on the latest developments in journal publishing, policies and initiatives, and helpful tips from peers in the industry.

·            Elsevier Editors' update: *) Discover and share with your editors the latest developments in journal publishing, policies and initiatives that affect them.

·            Elsevier Journal editors’ webcasts library: webcasts. *)

·            Elsevier Policies and Ethics: authors/policies-and-ethics.

·            Elsevier Publishing Ethics Resource Kit (PERK):*) An online resource to support journal editors in handling publishing ethics issues.

·            Committee of Publication Ethics (COPE): COPE is a forum for editors and publishers of peer reviewed journals to discuss all aspects of publication ethics. It also advises editors on how to manage cases of research and publication misconduct as well as a series of Best Practice Guidelines such as those for journal

editors and new guidelines for those journals and publishers who wish to become actual members of COPE.


*) Although aimed at Editors of Elsevier journals, these sources are publically available and can be used by any Editor. Besides the Elsevier sources mentioned here, many other scientific publishers provide interesting sources relevant for Editors too.


14.         What are CiteScore, Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP), and SCImago Journal Rank (SJR)?

CiteScore, SNIP and SJR are all journal level citation based metrics that can be used to measure the impact of a journal. These journal metrics:


·            Are transparent and freely available for all journals included in Scopus

·            Are based on proven bibliometric principles

·            Are refreshed once per year

·            Eliminate the risk of manipulation

·            Can correct for citation behavior and database coverage (SNIP and SJR)

·            Provide multidimensional insights into journal performance

·            Can allow for a direct comparison of journals, independent of their subject classification (SNIP and SJR)

·            Are publicly and freely accessible at and are also integrated into




CiteScore is a simple way of measuring the citation impact of serial titles such as journals. Serial titles are defined as titles which publish on a regular basis (i.e. one or more volumes per year).


CiteScore calculates the average number of citations received in a calendar year by all items published in that journal in the preceding three years. The calendar year to which a serial title's issues are assigned is determined by their cover dates, and not the dates that the serial issues were made available online. The method of calculation for CiteScore 2016 is illustrated below.


Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP):

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. SNIP is defined as the ratio of a journal's raw impact per publication and the citation potential in its subject field. This allows for evaluation of a journal compared to its competition and provides more contextual information, giving a better picture of the impact depending on the citation behavior in the field.


SCImago Journal Rank (SJR):

SJR is a prestige metric based on the idea that not all citations are the same. With SJR, the subject field, quality and reputation of the journal have a direct effect on the value of a citation and the impact that journal makes. In addition the prestige of a citation is weighted over all citations handed out to that journal. SJR is a size-independent indicator and it ranks journals by their 'average prestige per article' and can be used for journal comparisons in science evaluation processes.


More information on the metrics and a publically available overview of all journal metrics values can be found here:


15.         What are citations?


In the context of Scopus metrics, a citation is when an article from a journal is cited by an author in another journal article, usually relevant to the specific field. Citations are very important for authors, as a high citation count normally indicates that the work being cited has value for other researchers. It is very important in the journal evaluation process that the combined citations of articles in a journal are identified, as citations already in Scopus database journals indicate that researchers in the field have already identified the journal as one which has valued articles and other material.



16.         What is the h-index?

The h-index is an index to quantify a body of scientific research output and was suggested by Jorge E. Hirsch, a physicist at UCSD, as a tool for determining theoretical physicists' relative quality. The h-index is also called the Hirsch index or Hirsch number. It is an index that attempts to measure both the scientific productivity and the apparent scientific impact of a scientist. The index is based on the set of the most cited papers and the number of citations that they have received. The h-index can be calculated for any group of scientific papers.

Most frequently the h-index is used to measure scientific output of an author, but the h- index can also be calculated for an institution, country or journal.

An h-index of X means that Np papers have at least X citations each, and the other (Np - X) papers have at most X citations each.

17.         What is considered a local /regional journal?


A local or regional journal is one where the aims and scope are limited to interest from a certain region or country only. The diversity of the authorship, readership and editorial board of these journals is generally one where they almost all come from the same region or country. They are often published only in the country’s own language. This will mean that the readership is often restricted to that country or region‘s readers or international researchers who can read the same language.

If relevant content is published, a regional or national focus can sometimes give journals a competitive advantage over truly international journals. Well written, locally orientated material has the potential to make a significant academic contribution to the wider scientific community.

18.         What is considered an institutional journal?


Many academic institutions worldwide have their own publishing organizations that publish their own scientific journals. The primary purpose of these journals is as a repository for material generated within the institution or by authors affiliated to the institution. These journals are considered to be “institutional journals”. The Scopus CSAB recognizes that such journals may serve an important institutional purpose for local historical and political purposes, and in encouraging local researchers onto the publication ladder. However because of their localized approach to the dissemination of scholarly outputs this does not then translate into the broader expectations and requirements for inclusion in an international database.

Some academic institutions however have broadened their publishing role and now offer a wider geographical focus to their journals, including involvement of the international academic community. These can become established publishing organizations in their own right as they recognize the value of this business model.



19.         What is considered an international journal?

An international journal is a journal where the aims and scope are of interest to a wider international scientific community within a specific subject field. Moreover, an international journal has a good diversity of authors, readers and editorial board members with representation from different regions and countries. Some journals may have an International Advisory Board to represent this internationality.

The published content should also be in line with the stated aims and scope and be of interest to the international scientific community. Note: just the word “International” reflected in the actual title of the journal does not make the journal an international journal.

20.         What does an editor need to do before the submission process for inclusion in the journal?


Ask yourself – ‘Does the journal meet the minimum criteria?’ If not, rethink the journal sections that still do not meet the criteria. Before submitting a journal for Scopus review, it is advised to check the following items:

¨  Does the journal publish peer-reviewed content?

¨  Does the journal have an ISSN registered at the International ISSN Centre?

¨  Do the articles published in the journal have English language abstracts and English language titles?

¨  Are the cited references listed in the articles provided in Roman script?

¨  Is there an online publication ethics and publication malpractice statement available for the journal? For more information about publication ethics, see for example: Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) and the Elsevier Ethics in Research & Publication program: reviews/policies/ethics-in-research-publication-program

¨  Check that the title of the journal is unique and descriptive and is not already been used by other journals. This is an important issue to resolve as an Editorial Board and Publisher. It may result in a change of journal title and the need for a different ISSN number. Same journal titles can cause problems with authors who believe they are submitting articles to a specific journal but in fact it may be submitting to a different one. This has ethical implications as well.

¨  Does the journal have a publication history of at least two years? Do note that a journal suggestion may be rejected for review if the publication history is too short to review.

¨  Have the three most recent journal issues or 9 articles plus a table of contents ready for uploading as sample documents in PDF format.

¨  Determine who is the main handling Editor of the journal. This is the person who is overall responsible for the peer-review process and managing the journal. If there is more than one main handling editor, you can nominate up to three main handling editors.

¨  Have a URL for online professional information of the main handling editor(s). For example, curriculum vitae/resume, institutional or personal homepage, preferably showing scientific credibility, current affiliation and affiliation history, awards and grants received.

¨  Undertake a self-evaluation using the Scopus CSAB guidelines to determine if the title you wish to suggest meets the Scopus journal selection criteria.

Written by: Karen Holland (CSAB Subject Chair), Derrick Duncombe, Elizabeth Dyas and Wim Meester (all three member of the Scopus Team).

 Last Updated: March 2018