Standards and Selectivity: Our Enduring Mission

Standards and Selectivity: Our Enduring Mission
by David A. Pendlebury
Senior Citation Analyst
Science Research Connect

For all the benefits of access to information in the digital age, there are also challenges, even dangers. What sources are reliable and trustworthy? It is an issue dominant in journalism today: fake news. It is no less a problem in the world of scientific and scholarly publishing. The open access movement illustrates the tension between ease in obtaining information and knowing what is authentic and of quality.

Since 1964, when Eugene Garfield produced the first Science Citation Index, our standard was set in the selection of journals for coverage: quality and influence. The first deals with informed assessment by subject experts; the second uses objective measures based on citations by authors, also subject experts.

Because Clarivate Analytics uses quantitative methods and citation data in its decisions concerning which journals to index – and to continue to index – in the Web of Science, many believe that quantitative analysis is the only consideration. But this is not true. Qualitative evaluation of journals is equally important. In certain cases, it is the most important criterion.

Journals, like people, have a life and go through many changes. So, too, our coverage of titles ebbs and flows accordingly, although overall it is very stable from one year to the next. If selected, a journal’s Web of Science coverage cannot be considered permanent. Covered titles are constantly curated to ensure that they maintain quality and performance criteria. If a journal is deselected from our coverage, for reasons of changing influence or editorial conduct, this is no more remarkable than a new journal being added.

What does not change, however, are the stringent standards, both qualitative and quantitative, that our content management team applies to the review of scientific and scholarly publications for coverage in the Web of Science. In this we are independent, publisher-neutral, and stubbornly so, as we have been for 54 years.

Neither does Clarivate Analytics favor journals or research from authors in any nation or region. More than ever, research is a global enterprise and the best and most influential titles and studies are increasingly flowing from Asia and regions previously underrepresented, such as the Middle East.

Therefore, the care taken in vetting publications for inclusion in the Web of Science ensures that our users can take confidence in the quality of the publications and studies they discover and rely upon in their research.

Curation counts, selectivity matters, and our standards endure.

Read more about our selection criteria for Web of Science here.