For the Web of Science, yet another milestone

In recent years, Clarivate Analytics Web of Science has achieved notable milestones. In 2014, the Science Citation Index (SCI), the forerunner on which today’s Web of Science Core Collection is based, marked the 50th anniversary of its release. The following year saw the Web of Science platform compile its one billionth cited reference. That is, one billion instances of researchers citing the previous publications that they judged to be the most consequential and important to their own work. The resulting network of citations provides a detailed chronicle of more than a century of scientific impact and progress.

Now, the Web of Science observes another achievement: its tally of indexed source items recently passed the 150-million mark. This vast and ever-growing accumulation of knowledge represents the world’s premier scientific and scholarly literature and reflects the accelerating, global expansion of research and innovation.

“Now, the Web of Science observes another achievement: Its tally of indexed source items recently passed the 150-million mark.”

Even before logging such milestones, the initial version of the Web of Science itself constituted a landmark, as the world’s first science citation index. In its 1964 debut, the SCI comprised five printed volumes, indexing the contents of just over 600 journals, and tracking some 1.4 million citations. From those comparatively modest beginnings, the index set upon a relentless course of expansion, enlarging its coverage to include the social sciences as well as the arts and humanities, ultimately adding retrospective literature coverage back to the year 1900.  The SCI also kept pace with the digital revolution – a process culminating in 1997 with the launch of the online Web of Science.

With its coverage now exceeding 30,000 journals, not to mention the inclusion of book contents, proceedings papers, patents, and data repositories, the Web of Science has progressed immeasurably far from its beginnings. This progress has very pointedly embraced the increase in regional research around the world; the Emerging Sources Citation Index – a recent addition to the Web of Science Core Collection – and the regional indexes for China, Russia, Latin America and Korea embody this imperative.

This embrace of expanded sources, however, does not mean a slackening in the high standards of selection and curation that have always governed Web of Science coverage.  Journals and other sources are subject to a strict regimen of evaluation and ongoing scrutiny.

Expanded coverage also feeds into another Web of Science dimension that continues to undergo expansion and improvement: the availability of evaluative tools, including InCites, Essential Science Indicators, and Journal Citation Reports. These resources allow users to assess research performance and citation impact for individuals, journals, institutions, and nations.

So, the attainment of 150 million indexed source items, while a noteworthy milestone, is hardly a stopping point. Instead, this merely marks a way point for the continuing evolution of the Web of Science.

Learn more about the Web of Science from Clarivate Analytics.