The 2020 Journal Citation Reports: Helping you make better-informed decisions with confidence

This blog post is about the 2020 release of the Journal Citation Reports™. You can learn about Journal Citation Reports 2022 here.

At Clarivate, we are proud of the history that underpins our work to accelerate innovation. This year marks the 60th anniversary since Dr. Eugene Garfield founded the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI)™. Today it is the very foundation of the expertise, experience and deep thinking that drives our editorial rigor, our policy and partnerships, rankings and analytics to help solve the problems of our community. In 1975, the research community first used the Web of Science Journal Citation Reports (JCR) to help them make better-informed decisions with confidence, identifying and evaluating  the world’s leading sciences and social sciences journals.

The JCR includes a wealth of information including total papers, total citations, citing and cited journal data, cited and citing half-life data, an Immediacy Index, and of course, the Web of Science Journal Impact Factor™ (JIF).  While much has changed over the years, as journals shifted from print to digital and the number of journals worldwide exploded, the mission of the JCR remains unchanged:


“to provide a thorough, publisher-neutral, multifaceted view of journal performance, reflecting the world’s highest-quality scientific and scholarly literature.”


Today, we launch the 2020 edition of the JCR, which marks the latest evolution in our rich array of journal citation indicators, descriptive data and visualizations drawn from the 2019 data in the Web of Science Core Collection™.

It is indisputable that the Journal Impact Factor has become one of the most popular yet controversial of the data provided; it was designed to aid ISI in journal selection, librarians in collection development and information scientists and other researchers in understanding communication patterns among journals. Dr. Garfield himself pointed out the misuse of the Journal Impact Factor in public and in print. We continue to stress that the JCR provides journal profiles with a rich data context and should not be irresponsibly applied to wider research management.


New for 2020, we’re pleased to introduce:

  • New descriptive data on open access models: New data show each journal’s articles by access model. This provides the research community with transparent, publisher-neutral information about the relative contribution of articles published free to read and re-use under Creative Commons licenses (‘gold open access’) to a journal’s overall volume of content and citations. For hybrid journals, readers are now quickly and easily able to identify:
    • the number of papers published via the traditional subscription model, and
    • those published via Creative Commons licenses.
  • Updated journal self-citation parameters: To support the integrity of the reports, Clarivate has suppressed 33 journals from the JCR this year, representing 0.27% of the journals listed. The JCR monitors and excludes journals that demonstrate anomalous citation behavior, including where there is evidence of excessive journal self-citation and citation stacking. For 2020, the methodology and parameters for the effect of journal self-citation on JCR metrics have been updated to better account for discipline norms.
    • In addition, an Editorial Expression of Concern has been issued for 15 journals with one or more published items with an atypically high-value contribution to the JIF numerator and a pattern of journal citations disproportionately concentrated into the JIF numerator. We will continue to review content of this type with the goal of developing additional screening for distortions of the Journal Impact Factor.


Explore the key highlights from the 2020 Journal Citation Reports here. For more information, visit the  Journal Citation Reports page to explore all available data, metrics and analysis, and follow #JCR2020 on social media.