Behind the Scenes of the JCR Selection & Production Processes

To be included in the Journal Citation Reports® (JCR), a journal must first be indexed in the Web of Science™ in either the Science Citation Index Expanded or the Social Sciences Citation Index. In order to do that, journals go through an extensive selection process with our panel of experts.

Our selection team works full time for us – there is no conflict of interest with publishers or societies. Among them, they have over 150 years of experience with their subject matter, and cover a dozen different languages with fluency. This team provides us with consistent monitoring of the selection process – selection is ongoing throughout the year, and candidate journals are assessed at biweekly meetings. As a result, the Web of Science is known as the worldwide source for top-tier scholarly research published in journals with consistent high impact across the global scholarly community.

Journals are assessed on a multitude of characteristics, including publishing standards, editorial content, international focus, and citation impact. James Testa, our Vice President of Editorial Development and Publisher Relations, spells out the selection criteria for journals to be indexed in the Web of Science here.


So your journal has been indexed in Web of Science – how then does it get into JCR?

Journals that are indexed in the Science or Social Science Citation Indices will appear in JCR once there are three complete and known years of source data. The reason for this period of source data accumulation is so that we can calculate a Journal Impact Factor – which is defined as citations in the JCR year to items published in the previous two years divided by the total number of scholarly items published in those same previous two years.

There are, of course, some exceptions to this rule. Brand-new journals, i.e., those that are starting with Volume 1, Number 1, can be included in the JCR, as their prior two years of source data are known – as zero. Journals that have undergone a title change are another instance of this exception. In both scenarios, these journals would not receive a Journal Impact Factor score – not until the requisite three years of source data are populated – but are still listed in the JCR with other metrics to their credit, like the Immediacy Index, that can be calculated on the source data we have for that journal.

During the JCR data production process, editors undertake a months-long process of intensive manual data validation, as illustrated below.
journal selection

If you have a journal you would like to submit as a candidate to be indexed by Thomson Reuters, visit the Journal Submission page.


Did you miss any of the posts in our JCR series? Catch up now:
The 2016 Journal Citation Reports Release Is Coming!
Spotlight on: Eigenfactor Metrics
Spotlight on: Downloadable Reports in JCR
Spotlight on: Visualizations in Journal Citation Reports
Journal Suppressions in the 2015 JCR Data - Why So Few?
Recap of the 2016 Journal Citation Reports Release
Beyond the Journal Impact Fact