The selection process for the Book Citation Index in Web Of Science

James Testa,

VP Emeritus, Editorial Development & Publisher Relations, Clarivate Analytics
September 2017



Web of Science is well known for its coverage of top-tier international and regional journal literature in the Science Citation Index Expanded, the Social Sciences Citation Index, the Arts & Humanities Citation Index, and the Emerging Sources Citation Index. Web of Science also covers conference proceedings literature in its Conference Proceedings Citation Index.

These indexes are characterized by the quality of the publications covered; their content has been developed over decades, employing well-defined selection criteria in a systematic and consistent manner.

With the creation of the Book Citation Index, Web of Science expanded the scope of its citation coverage to include this essential scholarly format.

As with the journal and proceedings literature, books are selected according to a well-defined set of criteria. By careful evaluation of the content and format of each publication, Clarivate Analytics assures not only that all citation indexes in Web of Science contain the most relevant and timely research, but also that rigorous bibliographic control will ensure that this research is discoverable.

But comprehensive does not necessarily mean all-inclusive. With books, as with journals and conference proceedings, there is a need to select those publications that will most likely contain significant scholarship. Web of Science has demonstrated that, by applying rigorous selection criteria to the literature it covers, researchers are able to discover the scholarly content that best serves their needs quickly and efficiently. The aggregation of important book content in the Book Citation Index enables researchers publishing in books to reach a far wider audience and to measure citation impact across various publishing formats.


The Book Selection Process

Basic Publishing Standards

In general, books selected for both the Science and Social Sciences & Humanities editions of the Book Citation Index must bear a copyright from the current year or previous five (5) years.

However, books outside this range, especially in the Social Sciences and Arts & Humanities subject areas, are often considered for coverage, as older books in these areas are often of high value.

Full address information for all authors is highly desirable, and complete bibliographic information for all cited references is essential.

English-language full text is highly desirable, but books with full text in a language other than English are also considered for coverage in the Book Citation Index. Including English language bibliographic information (e.g. chapter title, author abstract, keywords) in these cases is most helpful.

Book publishing involves a collaborative effort among publisher, editor, and author, with authors typically invited to write on a certain subject. As with journals, a peer review process is associated with scholarly books, and Clarivate Analytics relies on the integrity of the publisher to ensure that book content is valid and original.

Editorial Content

The Book Citation Index covers only scholarly books that present fully referenced articles of original research, or reviews of the literature with the understanding that these books may be published in a wider variety of formats.

Special consideration is given publications in the following list of book formats. These are the book formats most frequently presented for coverage in the Book Citation Index.

  • Dissertations: Dissertations are considered for coverage if they are part of an established book series with diverse content, or published as a well edited and reviewed monograph by a reputable scholarly publisher.
  • Textbooks: Well-referenced textbooks aimed at a graduate or advanced research audience are considered for coverage.
  • Books in Series: Scholarly books in both series and non-series format are considered for coverage.
  • Reprinted /Reissued Content: Reissued content may be considered if it bears a current copyright date and has not been covered previously. Books containing reprinted content are generally not considered.
  • Translations of Non-English-Language Content: Translations of non-English-language content are considered if they include significant, well-referenced scholarly commentary.
  • Biography: Well-referenced critical or scholarly biographies are considered.
  • Reference Books: Scholarly reference books – that is, books where the items include cited references – are considered; reference books lacking such citation data are not.

Citation Analysis

Priority is given to books and book series that have relatively greater citation impact. Journal and proceedings citations to books in highly cited book series indicate that these books are well-integrated into the scholarly communication network. The Book Citation Index uncovers another dimension of this network by opening citation pathways leading to and from publications in the wider world of books. These connections will further enhance and deepen the ability to search and navigate the scholarly literature especially in those fields where book authorship is a critical academic achievement.

Capturing and indexing citations to books allows Clarivate Analytics to identify those books and series that have a relatively greater impact on the scholarly literature and to include these publications in the Book Citation Index.

As book citation data grows Clarivate Analytics will further refine the selection of publications for Book Citation Index.


What Kinds of Books are Included in the Book Citation Index?

  • The Book Citation Index covers only scholarly books that present fully referenced articles of original research, or reviews of the literature.
  • The Book Citation Index covers both series and non-series books.
  • Books with copyright from the current or previous five (5) years are considered for coverage in the Book Citation Index.