Editorial selection process

Web of Science Core Collection Editorial Policies, Category Change Requests, and Appeals Process

Web of Science Core Collection

Communication of Editorial Decisions

All communications regarding editorial decisions, including evaluation or re-evaluation outcomes will be communicated to the publisher. Any updates regarding the journal evaluation will be sent to the individual that was listed as the Editorial Contact at the time of submission. Publishers are responsible for communicating outcomes to their editorial boards, authors and readers.

Any review of publication practices is confidential. The Web of Science™ editorial team does not share details of concerns sent by users with the publisher, and equally does not share the outcomes or details of their review with users. Clarivate maintains a freely accessible Master Journal List where information about journal coverage is provided. Our Master Journal List should be considered the authoritative source for coverage.

Embargo Policy for Journal Evaluations

Journals may be put under embargo if they fail to meet the quality criteria. Journals placed under embargo cannot be re-submitted until the end of the embargo period. Embargo periods are determined as follows.

Initial Triage: There is no embargo period for re-submission if a journal does not pass initial triage.

Editorial Triage: There is no embargo period for re-submission if a journal does not pass editorial triage in its first evaluation.  If a journal is subsequently re-submitted and fails editorial triage for a second consecutive time, re-submission is subject to an embargo period of one year.

Editorial evaluation (quality): If a journal does not pass the editorial evaluation (quality) step, re-submission is subject to an embargo period of at least two years.

Journals removed from coverage: Journals previously covered in the Web of Science Core Collection that have been removed from coverage are subject to an embargo period of at least two years after the removal decision is communicated to the publisher. For more information see our removal from coverage policy.

Removal from Coverage

If concerns are raised regarding an indexed journal, either by users or through monitoring by our in-house editors, the journal will be re-evaluated according to our selection criteria. Where significant concerns are raised about the quality of the content published by the journal, new content will not be indexed during the course of the re-evaluation. When the evaluation is complete, the publisher will be informed of the outcome and the journal will either:

  • be removed from coverage if it no longer meets the quality criteria
  • or remain covered if it continues to meet the quality criteria.


If the journal meets the quality criteria, any missing content will be indexed.  If the journal is removed from coverage, content will not be backfilled. In the most serious cases of breaches in the journal’s editorial standards, as determined by our selection criteria, published content may be removed from Web of Science. Timeframes for completing a re-evaluation will depend on the particular circumstances of each case.

Title Changes, Mergers and Splits

Title Changes

  • Definition:  Any alteration to the word content or word order of a title is considered a title change.  No further content is published using the former title and all publication activity is initiated under the new title.  Most often, a new ISSN has been registered.
  • Outcome: The former title of the journal is no longer indexed and a new record is created for the new title.  The coverage of the new title is reviewed to ensure that indexing remains appropriate.  At minimum, we will ensure that category assignments and product assignments are accurate to the scope of the new title; a full editorial evaluation will be performed if required. The new title will remain in coverage during the course of the review or editorial evaluation.

Title Splits

  • Definition:  A single title separates segments of its content into two or more new journals (child journals).  The division is based on differences in subject matter or type of content.  The original title ceases to publish as a whole entity and all publication is taken over by the new titles.
    Note
    : If the original title continues publishing, the additional title or titles that were generated from the original title are considered new launches, not child journals, and will be subject to independent evaluation (e.g. mirror journals).
  • Outcome: The child journals are evaluated individually as new titles. Consideration is given to the performance trend of the parent title. The child journals will remain in coverage during the course of the editorial evaluation.

Title Mergers

  • Definition:  Two or more titles combine to create one or more new titles.  In all cases, at least one new title is created, and two or more titles are ceased.
  • Outcome: Indexing of the individual journals before their merge will end.  The newly-formed title will be subject to evaluation of the scope and content to ensure indexing and classification remain appropriate; consideration is given to the performance trend of the component titles. The new journal will remain in coverage during the course of the editorial evaluation.

Title Absorptions

  • Definition:  One title completely subsumes the publication of a distinct separate title.  The absorbed journal ceases to publish any new content under its own title.  The absorbing title does not change, but expands to incorporate the subordinated title.
  • Outcome: The indexing of the resulting journal is reviewed to ensure that indexing remains appropriate.  At minimum, we will ensure that category assignments and product assignments are accurate to the scope of the new title; a full editorial evaluation will  be performed if required. The absorbing title will remain in coverage during the course of the review or editorial evaluation.

Journal Category Changes

Our subject categories are intended to group together journals that publish similar content. A citation index makes use of the way scholars, themselves, create a meaningful network of relationships between journals through their cited references. The category assignment of a journal is done not to define its scope, but to reflect its location in the Web of Science citation network.

Upon submission, publishers can suggest up to three subject categories for each journal. The editorial team takes into consideration the publisher’s suggestions, but the final decision is made by the Web of Science editors at their sole discretion.

Journals can be assigned up to six categories. Publishers can request to add or change the categories assigned to a journal using the form provided below. Please carefully consider and refer to the category scope notes available here. Category change requests can be sent throughout the year; however, they will take a lower priority to journals that have not yet been evaluated and are considered at the editor’s discretion. Journals are subject to a full re-evaluation before any category changes are applied – journals need to meet all 24 quality criteria to remain indexed in the Web of Science Core Collection.

To request a category change for an indexed journal, please fill-in this form and send it as a PDF to category.evaluation@clarivate.com. Please note that only category requests sent by publishers will be considered. If you are an editor or author of an indexed journal and want to suggest a change in category, please contact the journal publisher.

Editorial Decision Appeals (Journals)

Our selection criteria are designed to ensure rigorous, consistent, objective and data-driven decision making. However, in the event a publisher believes a decision is unjustified, appeals will be considered as follows.

Editorial Triage (first evaluation): There is no embargo period for re-submission if a journal does not pass editorial triage in its first evaluation, therefore appeals will not be considered. Instead, publishers should re-submit the journal.

Editorial Triage (subsequent evaluation): Publishers are requested to provide a detailed rebuttal containing evidence of how the journal is meeting the criteria indicated as failed in the editorial decision letter (please use the form below). Appeals based on corrective action taken after the rejection decision will not be considered. In these cases, a 1-year embargo on re-submission will remain, at which point the journal may be re-submitted and the results of the corrective action will be evaluated.

Editorial Evaluation (quality): Publishers are requested to provide a detailed rebuttal containing evidence of how the journal is meeting the criteria indicated as failed in the editorial decision letter (please use the form below). Appeals based on corrective action taken after the rejection decision will not be considered. In these cases, a 2-year embargo on re-submission will remain, at which point the journal may be re-submitted and the results of the corrective action will be evaluated.

Editorial evaluation (impact): Appeals based on publisher calculations of the estimated journal impact factor will not be considered. Appeals based on content significance will only be considered if evidence is provided that the journal adds to an area of research underrepresented by the current collection. Publishers are requested to provide a detailed rebuttal containing said evidence (please use the form below). Appeals based on content significance will not be considered for well-represented areas of research.

Appeals must be submitted by the journal publisher. After the appeal is received, the editorial team will review the evidence provided and inform the publisher of the final decision. The outcome of an appeal may be:

  • Original decision and embargo are upheld.
  • Original decision is upheld and embargo on re-submission is reduced.
  • Original decision is overturned.

Appeals will take a lower priority to journals that have not yet been evaluated and re-evaluations of currently covered journals and are considered at the editor’s discretion. Any decision made following an appeal will be final.

To submit a formal appeal to an editorial decision, please fill-in this form and send it as a PDF to editorial.appeals@clarivate.com. Please note that only appeals submitted by publishers will be considered.

Editorial Disclaimer

As an independent organization, Clarivate does not become involved in and is not responsible for the editorial management of any journal or the business practices of any publisher. Publishers are accountable for their journal performance and compliance with ethical publishing standards. The views and opinions expressed in any journal are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Clarivate. Clarivate remains neutral in relation to territorial disputes, and allows journals, publishers, institutes and authors to specify their address and affiliation details including territory.

Criteria for selection of newly submitted titles and re-evaluation of existing titles in the Web of Science are determined by the Web of Science Editors in their sole discretion. If a publisher’s editorial policy or business practices negatively impact the quality of a journal, or its role in the surrounding literature of the subject, the Web of Science Editors may decline to include the journal in any Clarivate product or service. The Web of Science Editors, in their sole discretion, may remove titles from coverage at any point if the titles fail to maintain our standard of quality, do not comply with ethical standards, or otherwise do not meet the criteria determined by the Web of Science Editors. If a journal is deselected or removed from coverage, the journal will cease to be indexed in the Web of Science from a date determined by the Web of Science Editors in their sole discretion – articles published after that date will not be indexed. The Web of Science Editors’ decision on all matters relating to journal coverage will be final.