The JCR Reload and a look ahead to the introduction of early access content in 2021

Journal Citation Reports provide you with the transparent, publisher-neutral data and statistics you need to make confident decisions in today’s evolving scholarly publishing landscape. Read more.


Each journal profiled in the Journal Citation Reports™ has met the rigorous quality and impact criteria documented in the Web of Science Core Collection™ editorial selection process – so that you can quickly find a list of the most influential journals in the sciences and social sciences.

The Journal Citation Reports are released annually in June: each year we also provide an updated data ‘reload’ approximately three months after the annual release, which gives us an opportunity to make any necessary adjustments and updates to data included in the June release. All users of the JCR may submit feedback for adjustments to citations and citable item counts. This also gives us an opportunity to consider the data or contextual information provided by publishers when appealing decisions to suppress. Journals that successfully appealed against the decision to suppress them are restored to the Journal Citation Reports in the reload.


Now that the reload is complete, we can turn our attention to the 2021 JCR release and our planned treatment of Early Access content

An increasing number of journals publish articles online prior to their formal inclusion as part of a scheduled volume/issue; this is often referred to as ‘Early Access’ and represents the version of record. Depending on each journal’s preferences, these articles are also often called Articles in Press, Published Ahead of Print, Online First, etc. There are no changes to Early Access articles other than being assigned a volume, an issue, and page information; they retain the same DOI. Early Access enables faster discovery and analysis of scholarly content. Since 2017, we have been working with journal publishers to expand indexing of journal content to include Early Access articles in the Web of Science Core Collection and InCites™ B&A. We will introduce Early Access content in next year’s JCR to more accurately reflect the dynamic citation environment of rapid online publication.


Adding Early Access content

Since 2017, as part of our Early Access pilot program, we have gradually onboarded publishers who provided Early Access content to us in an XML format. This pilot program has progressed well; we now include a critical mass and more than 6,000 journals from our various partners have been onboarded via XML submission. We are very grateful to all our publisher partners who have worked with us thus far to provide a more accurate reflection of how content is consumed today.


Early Access content and the Journal Impact Factor

In line with our wider commitment to support open research, to ensure we reflect the changes in the way scholarly content is consumed, the 2021 edition of the JCR will include Early Access content and will be included in the metrics provided – including the Journal Impact Factor™ (JIF). This content will be introduced in a phased manner and we will provide publishers with full guidance details around this change in policy in the coming weeks, including how Early Access content and citations from Early Access content will contribute to the JIF.

Learn more about the Journal Citation Reports, the world’s leading journals with publisher-neutral data.