Levels or Categories of Scopus Journals: Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Journal Categories

What are the distinctions between q1, q2, q3, and q4 categories or level of journal? View the following clarification


Scopus Journal Categories

Scopus is an international journal indexing service that offers journal evaluations. Scopus splits the quality of journals into different levels when evaluating them. The degree of quality of Scopus journals is also known as the quartile.

In the evaluation of the quality of journals indexed in the Scopus database, quartile can be thought of as a grouping or clustering. There are four groups of journals, notably quartile 1 (Q1), quartile 2 (Q2), quartile 3 (Q3), and quartile 4 (Q4).

Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Journal Differences

As discussed previously, Scopus contains multiple categories of journals. Scopus journal levels are categorised into four quartiles: Q1, Q2, Q3, and Q4. Consequently, what is the distinction between Q1, Q2, Q3, and Q4 journals?

The quality levels of Scopus journals are as follows, according to the book Research Funding Strategies in Universities to Improve Research Performance by Dr. Sri Suryaningsum, S.E., M. Si., Ak., C.A., et al (2020):

  • Quartile 1 (Q1) is the highest level, denoting the most influential Scopus-indexed journal.
  • After Quartile 1 (Q1), Quartile 2 (Q2) represents Scopus-indexed journals with high importance.
  • Quartile 3 (Q3) represents the proportion of Scopus-indexed journals of moderate influence.
  • Quartile 4 (Q4) represents the percentage of Scopus-indexed journals with the least impact.

This quartile classification is based on the calculation of the number of cite scores from Scopus-indexed articles. The journal with the highest citation score will be included in the first quartile (Q1). Additionally, journals with the lowest citation score will be included in quartile 4 (Q4). Therefore, you may conclude that Q1 Journal is the most prestigious journal because it has the highest citation score. In contrast, Q4 journals are the lowest level of journals due to their low cite score.

How to check the categories of journals in Scopus?

On the Scimago Journal & Country Rank (SJR) website, we can really view the quartile for the Scopus journal. Most of the time, though, Scimago journal rankings are slow to update information about quartile Scopus journals. Due to the fact that Scimago Journal & Country Rank (SJR) does not retrieve data from Scopus in real time, Scimago data lags behind the most recent Scopus data.

The good news is that, as of 2017, Scopus provides information about a journal’s quartile on its website. Therefore, we should directly use the official Scopus website at https://www.scopus.com/ to determine a journal’s quartile.

We may determine the quartile of a journal based on the percentile value reported by Scopus for the journal. If the quartile splits the data distribution into four parts, the percentile divides the data into 100 parts, or between 0 and 99 percent. To determine the journal’s quartile based on percentile, the following categories can be used:

  • Quartile Journal 1 (Q1) is a journal that has a percentile of 75%-99%.
  • Quartile Journal 2 (Q2) is a journal that has a percentile of 50%-74%.
  • Quartile Journal 3 (Q3) is a journal that has a percentile of 25%-49%.
  • Quartile Journal 4 (Q4) is a journal that has a percentile of 0%-24%.

If the journal we checked has a highest percentile of 75% or more, it is considered a Q1 journal. If the journal we checked has a higher percentile than 74%, however, it will be classified as a Q2 journal.

Follow these steps to find the journal’s quartile on Scopus:

Visit https://www.scopus.com/, Scopus’s main website.

You will find the following screen. It may be little different due to update in design.

Scopus Home Screen

Click on the source as mentioned in the figure.

Scopus search screen

Select title or ISSN, etc. as per your choice.

Scopus search screen

Write the name or ISSN as per your choice to find the journal listed in the Scopus. It would be better to choose ISSN, because you will get confirm one result if the journal is listed in Scopus.

Scopus search result

In the search result you will find the percentile, here the percentile is 17% that means the journal belongs to the 4th quartile.

At the time of search if you will select the subject and enter the keyword (like “management’, “Supply-chain”, “working capital” etc. to find the relevant journal, in this case you can select the quartile as well to get the journal of a particular categories. However it is very important to verify that the journal is still on the Scopus list.

To verify whether the journal is still in the Scopus list or not click on the journal to the specific journal page. Check whether in the coverage years “present” word is there or not as per the picture given below.


Good luck for your research and journal selection.

Dr. Afzalur Rahman

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