Unveiling the Journal Citation Reports 2023: Supporting research integrity with trusted tools and data

In the 2023 release of our Journal Citation Reports, we have taken significant additional steps to foster research integrity in the Web of Science. This is part of our ongoing efforts to proactively contribute to the maintenance of public trust in scientific and scholarly research. Learn about what’s new and some future changes.

Today marks the 2023 release of the annual Journal Citation Reports™ (JCR™). You will notice that this year, it looks a little different – so this blog will walk you through what’s new and what future changes you can expect to see as we seek to continuously improve these reports.

We are proud to release the latest suite of JCR metrics, which cover more than 21,500 journals across 250+ scientific and research disciplines. As we announced in July 2022, starting this year we have extended the Journal Impact Factor™ (JIF™) to all quality journals in the Web of Science Core Collection™, including the Arts & Humanities Citation Index™ (AHCI) and Emerging Sources Citation Index™ (ESCI).

You will also notice that this year the JIF displays to one decimal place, rather than three decimal places. This change affects how journals are ranked within the JCR, both in 2023 and 2024 – which you can read more about below.

Trusted tools and data for reliable journal intelligence

Publishers, librarians and the wider research community rely on the publisher-neutral journal intelligence in the Journal Citation Reports to evaluate and compare the scholarly impact of the world’s quality journals with confidence. The wide array of indicators, descriptive data and compelling visualizations available in JCR profiles support data-driven, informed decision-making throughout the scholarly research ecosystem – from researchers deciding where to submit their manuscripts to publishers managing portfolios of journals.

When the JCR was first released in 1975, it provided a unique view of journal-to-journal relationships – objective information about which scholarly communities are using a journal and how. Amidst incredible growth in scientific output, the JIF enabled quick evaluation of the impact and relevance of titles in particular fields.

Today, we are witnessing a rise not only in the number of journals published but also in questionable publishing practices. In the face of these current market trends, we remain diligently focused on providing content, data, and metrics you can trust. By expanding the JIF from only the most impactful science and social science journals to all Web of Science Core Collection journals, which our editorial team has evaluated for quality, the JIF becomes an indicator of trustworthiness in addition to scholarly impact at the journal level.

What’s new in the 2023 JCR release

While the primary change in this year’s release is the extension of the JIF to more than 9,000 additional journals from more than 3,000 publishers, users will also notice a few changes to the user interface.

First and foremost, the JIF will now display for journals in ESCI and AHCI. Where we previously displayed N/A, you will now see a value. Note that AHCI and ESCI journals will not be ranked or receive a quartile or percentile until 2024. This is reflected in the product with an N/A, as in previous years.

Additionally, the JIF now displays only one decimal place instead of three. This means we will see an increase of rank position ties in many categories – i.e., multiple journals with the same JIF – which you can read about in more detail on our blog . This change encourages users to consider other indicators and descriptive data in the JCR when comparing journals.

JIFs that would round down to 0.0 with the new one-decimal structure will be displayed as <0.1.

These changes are only for the metrics in the 2023 JCR release, which are based on 2022 data; no changes are being made to metrics in prior years.

In the 2024 JCR release, we will introduce AHCI and ESCI journals to category rankings. We have chosen a step-wise approach in order to provide transparency on how the extension of the JIF and decimal point display to one place separately affect JIF rankings and quartiles – you can read more detail about this on our blog.

Supporting responsible research evaluation with a rich range of metrics

We encourage our users to unpack richer information that lies beneath any single-point metric or headline indicator. To make it easier to conduct multi-faceted journal analyses, we have continually enriched the JCR with metrics that complement the JIF. These include percentiles and normalized indicators, such as the Journal Citation Indicator (JCI) which was introduced in 2021.

To carry out a well-rounded assessment, the JIF should be used in conjunction with these other metrics. While the JIF is the raw number, calculated by counting citations in 2022 to all items published in the journal in 2021 and 2020, the JCI is normalized, making it a valuable tool for evaluating journals in fields where citation patterns are different and take a longer period of time, such as those in the arts and humanities.

The 2023 release of the Journal Citation Reports is a significant milestone in fostering research integrity and maintaining public trust in scientific and scholarly research. With this year’s changes, the profiles in the JCR now provide a more comprehensive view of scholarly impact at the journal level. The updates to the user interface and the emphasis on considering multiple indicators and descriptive data further enhance the usability and reliability of the reports and encourage more responsible use of metrics.

As we continue to evolve and adapt to the changing landscape of scholarly research, we remain committed to providing researchers, publishers and librarians with trusted tools for reliable scholarly evaluation. With the Journal Citation Reports, the research community can make informed decisions, contribute to the advancement of knowledge, and ensure the highest standards of integrity in their academic pursuits.

Find out more about the 2023 Journal Citation Reports here.

Check out all of our JCR articles and news here.