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Ingeniería e Investigación

Print version ISSN 0120-5609

Ing. Investig. vol.38 no.2 Bogotá May/Aug. 2018



Novelties in the 2017 SJR for Engineering journals ranking


1 Head Editor of Ingeniería e Investigación Associate Professor Electrical and Electronic Engineering Department Universidad Nacional de Colombia

Recently the new results of Scimago Journal Rank-SJR, Journal Citation Report-JCR and Google Scholar Metrics for journals have been updated and published. This editorial note presents a comparative analysis of 2016 and 2017 SJR ranking, pointing out differences in journal performance.

Colombian Journals are still discovering the effects of the new Publindex model, whose results were published on December, 2016. Several interpretations of the possible implications of this new journal classification model have been published, as in Gómez and Palacios (2018), Pavas (2017a) and Palacios (2017). An interesting perspective from other discipline is presented in Cárdenas and Nieto Cruz (2018), where the usage of two completely different metrics for assessing the journals (SJR-JCR and Google Scholar) highlights that Publindex model is unfair; therefore, the results remain questionable up to today. In last June, the Scimago Journal Rank - SJR, Clarivate Analytics Journal Citation Report - JCR and Google Scholar have updated their rankings, corresponding to the journals positioning for 2017. The Colombian journals define utterly their positioning from these metrics; therefore this editorial note presents an updated analysis of the SJR ranking.

In previous editorial notes (Pavas, 2017b; Pavas, 2018), the performance of engineering journals was reviewed, for publications within the SJR category Engineering (miscellaneous). This editorial note revises the performance indicators of engineering journals. The purpose of this review is to present an update of the previously presented analysis and to recall the question of Pavas (2018): Are there chances of improving Colombian engineering journals rankings? Let us show some differences between 2016 and 2017 data.

The data of Table 1 are not the same of those reported in Pavas (2018) because the SJR included new documents in the category for 2016. "Recently ranked journals" refers to those publications with one (1) year in the ranking and that has been ranked. In 2016 nine recently ranked journals were included, one in Q1 (1/317=0,3%), one in Q2 (1/317=0,3%), 2 in Q3 (2/317=0,6%) and 5 in Q4 (5/317=1,6%); a total of 9/317 =2,8%. In 2017, seven recently ranked journals were assigned to Q1 (7/329 =8,1%), two were assigned to Q2 (2/329=2,3%), two to Q3 (2/329=2,3%) and twelve to Q4 (12/329=16,4%); A total of 23/329=7,0%. I would like to highlight that the SJR allows the inclusion of journals at any position in the ranking, even though they have been indexed for just one year. Table 1 shows too that SJR changes the information reported previously, the first column shows the 2016 ranking consulted on October 2017, the second column was consulted on June 2018.

Table 1 Summary of publications in Engineering (miscellaneous) Category. Data consulted on October of 2017 and June of 2018 for SJR 

Source: Author

Now, let us see the updated performance indicators. In Pavas (2017b) and Pavas (2018), three indicators were listed: Cites per Document - CpD, References per Document -RpD and Document per Journal a year - DpJ. This editorial note will not address the SJR index itself because I prefer to present indicators that can be followed by anyone and could eventually lead to editorial decisions.

The data reported in Pavas (2018) will be compared to the data of 2017. Although adjustments in the publications indexed by Scimago in SJR for 2016 were made, no adjustments in the results reported for 2016 will be performed in this editorial note, in order to allow the reader to have a reference frame. Table 2 displays the comparison of Cites per Document of engineering journals in 2016 and 2017. Confidence intervals were calculated using a 95% significance level, mean values of CpD of all journals at each quartile for eight and nine years were calculated, corresponding to 2016 and 2017 respectively. Each journal CpD mean value was used for calculating the quartile CpD mean, variance and confidence interval.

Table 2 Confidence intervals for Cites per Document a year, 95% significance level, n represents the number of journals at each quartile 

Source: Author and Pavas (2018)

Based on confidence intervals, there is not statistical evidence that a significant change in the CpD mean value is observed in 2017 results with respect to 2016. If we compare mean CpD values, a slight increase can be seen throughout all quartiles with respect to CpD mean values of 2016: 4,84% for Q1, 3,69% for Q2, 6,99% for Q3 and 15,82% for Q4. It seems that the citation perceived by the journals in all quartiles has slightly increased.

Table 3 shows the Reference per Document indicators. The confidence interval does not show either any statistical evidence of a significant change from 2016 to 2017 data. Based on these results, it seems that the journals have not changed for 2017 the amount of awarded citations. As it was mentioned on Pavas, (2017b) and Pavas (2018), RpD is higher for higher ranked journals; this result remains unchanged for 2017 SJR ranking.

Table 3 Confidence intervals for References per Document a year, 95% significance level 

Source: Author and Pavas (2018)

Table 4 shows the Documents per Journal a year results. Although the confidence intervals do not reveal either statistical evidence of differences between 2016 and 2017, comparing the mean values a different interpretation can be derived. Excepting Q2 journals, all journals show a rise above the 20% in the number of published documents: 22,13% for Q1, -9,09% for Q2, 20,05% for Q3 and 22,95% for Q4. The results reveal that the journals have increased the number of published documents in 2017. This result can also be caused by the inclusion of new journals in the category, as shown in Table 1. There are 4 additional ranked journals in the category for 2017, but there are 137 new included journals. Whether the published documents, as the citations of the recently included journals are counted or not for the SJR is not clear. Therefore, the rising of cites per document and published documents might be explained by the increase in indexed journals and a possible increase of the perceived citation.

Table 4 Confidence intervals for Document per Journal a year, 95% significance level 

Source: Author and Pavas (2018)

It is not straightforward to determine possible reasons to the results displayed in Table 2. As long as it has been achieved by transparent means, it is expected that citation comes from the readers. The number of published documents depends on the number of received documents and also on editorial decisions. There is no evidence that the increase in published documents depend more on one or the other, but its effects can be better observed resorting to the expected cites listed on Table 5. Expected cites are calculated from data showed in Table 2.

Table 5 Expected cites comparison for 2016 and 2017 SJR report. Engineering (miscellaneous) category 

Source: Author and Pavas (2018)

As reported in Pavas (2018), Q1 and Q2 quartiles gather together more than 90% of all expected citations in the category; the 2017 ranking shows the same behavior; this year there was an increase in expected citations of 25932 cites, a 19,5% with respect to 2016. Even though Q3 and Q4 journals perceived citation increase too, the difference with Q1 and Q2 journals becomes every time bigger and harder to reach. We could have in mind that, despite of the increase in published documents in all ranked journals, around 90% of granted citations are expected to be received by Q1 and Q2, making more difficult to move through the ranking. The expected published documents are listed in Table 6.

Table 6 Expected published documents comparison for 2016 and 2017 SJR report. Engineering (miscellaneous) category 

Source: Author and Pavas (2018)

The increase in published documents in 2017 ranking was 16980 articles, 17,9% with respect to 2016. In this case, the distribution of published documents does not present the same citations distribution displayed in Table 5, which means that all journals contribute to improve Q1 and Q2 journals positioning, but less than 10% of citations are expected to be received by Q3 and Q4 journals. Do these results reveal a true scientific community communication exchange? It is supposed that all ranked journals accomplish acceptable editorial quality standards, then why do not all journals perceive a more equitable "attention" from the audience? The characteristics of engineering journal ranking presented in Pavas (2017b) and Pavas (2018) persist in 2017 ranking, but the performance breach between higher ranked journals and lower ranked ones has become broader. There are still chances of improving the positioning of a journal; regrettably it turns out to be even more difficult.

In Palacios, (2016) several recommendations to improve the communication with the journal readers are proposed. Perhaps following this kind of suggestions could lead the journals to a better positioning in any of the rankings they are involved in. However, that document invites us to consider that any journal pursues a communication means for the scientific community, a space to share and discuss and, if you want to believe, a possibility for everyone to access to the knowledge. What do you think?

The most recent performance indicators of Ingeniería e Investigación are: Cite Score 0,56 (0,50 in 2016), SJR 0,189 (0,204), Journal Impact Factor of JCR 0,455 (0,280). These results set Ingeniería e Investigación as the best Colombian engineering journal. We are very glad for this achievement and once again, we thank the authors, reviewers and readers for making it possible. Ingeniería e Investigación and the Universidad Nacional de Colombia is committed to our audience and to excellence.


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Gómez Marin, Jorge Enrique, & Palacios, Mauricio. (2018). Una nueva etapa de Publindex: dolores de crecimiento. Infectio, 22(1), 7-8. [ Links ]

Palacios Gómez, Mauricio. (2017). The uncertainty of Colombian scientific journals with Publindex. Colombia Médica, North America, v48, n4 Dec. 2017. Available at: [ Links ]

Palacios, Mauricio. (2016). ¿Cuál es el objetivo de una revista científica. Ingeniería y competitividad, 18(2), 8-10. [ Links ]

Pavas, Andrés (2017a). Report about the preliminary results of the National Bibliographic Index - Publindex. Ingeniería e Investigación, 37(1), 3-6. [ Links ]

Pavas, Andrés (2017b). Are there chances of improving Colombian engineering journals rankings? Ingeniería e Investigación, 37(3), 3-7, [ Links ]

Pavas, Andrés (2018). What are the differences between engineering journal performances? Ingeniería e Investigación, 38(1) 3-7, [ Links ]

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