Scopus decided to take the step into the world of journal ranking because it was increasingly asked to do so by its users. The academic community has been asking for alternatives to the Impact Factor. Scopus users have been asking for metrics calculated from the transparent Scopus data source. They wanted Scopus to endorse a serious player in the publishing and performance-evaluation arena. The idea of being able to rank a broader set of journals, especially non-English-language titles, was very attractive. The academic community is naturally also keen to see more debate on journal metrics, and their appropriate use. Scopus kept these needs in mind while determining what to do. This is how Scopus understood the challenge:
- It is a basic bibliometric principle that a single metric to measure anything is never enough to answer all questions. Scopus decided to follow a multidisciplinary approach and endorse at least two journal metrics that highlighted distinct aspects of performance.
- A high correlation of journal ranking to existing journal metrics, in particular the Impact Factor, was not a prerequisite. Scopus did not aim to endorse metrics that merely reproduced existing rankings under a different name.
- Scopus honored the specialized and multifaceted nature of the bibliometrics field by not developing metrics itself. It looked for expert external partners with whom to partner and to ensure that the values were independent.
- Scopus also decided that its first step into this arena would not be its last. Scopus will continue to work with its bibliometric partners to improve and add to its family of journal metrics based on feedback from bibliometricians, Scopus users and the entire academic community.
Scopus pledges to make the values freely available so anyone can access and use them. This approach was tailored to Scopus users' needs. The outcome was to adopt two metrics: SNIP and SJR.