Journal Evaluation Methodology

At ISI, Many factors are taken into account when evaluating journals for calculating Impact Factor, ranging from the qualitative to the quantitative. These include the following:

> Basic publishing standards
> Editorial content
> International focus
> Citation Analysis

No one factor is considered in isolation, but by combination and interrelation of data, our editors are able to determine the journal's overall strengths and weaknesses.

Peer Review
Application of the peer-review process is another indication of journal standards and signifies the overall quality and integrity of the research presented and the completeness of bibliographic elements, especially cited references.6 Inclusion of funding acknowledgements is also strongly recommended. Not only do they help create a greater context for the journal, they also function as a confirmation of the importance of the research presented.

Ethical Publishing Practices
Evidence of unethical policies such as predatory publishing practices or editorial instructions leading to excessive, inauthentic journal self-citation or any other fraudulent practices are not acceptable in any journal under evaluation and result in immediate rejection. When discovered in a journal already covered in Web of Science Core Collection they may result in deselection or the suppression of any affected citation metrics.

Publishing Format
Journals published in print or electronic formats (XML, PDF) are eligible for evaluation. A technical evaluation is applied to all journals accepted for coverage in their electronic format to assure that access to their content is compatible with our indexing systems.

Timeliness of publication is a basic criterion in the evaluation process. The ability to publish on time implies a healthy backlog of manuscripts essential for ongoing viability. It is not acceptable for a journal to appear chronically late, weeks or months after its cover date. To measure timeliness we need to see two consecutive current issues, one after another, as soon as they are published online or in print.

International Editorial Conventions
We also determine if the journal follows international editorial conventions, which are intended to optimize retrievability of source articles. These conventions include informative journal titles, fully descriptive article titles and author abstracts, complete bibliographic information for all cited references, and full address information for every author.

Editors look for international diversity among the journal’s contributing authors, editors, and editorial advisory board members at a level that is appropriate for the journal’s target audience. If the journal’s content is aimed at an internationalaudience then we expect to find an internationally diverse group of authors, editors and editorial advisory board members contributing to it.

We are also interested in excellent regional Journals and are able to include a relatively small proportion of these each year. Regional journals often target a local, rather than an international, audience requiring less emphasis on extensive international diversity. Citation analyses may also play a different role in the evaluation of regional Journals whose citation impact is characteristically modest. Otherwise, the selection criteria for regional journals are the same as for international journals. The importance of a regional journal is measured more in terms of the specificity of its content. 

Because Web of Science Core Collection is a true citation index, all cited references from every item in every journal covered are indexed whether or not the cited work is also covered as a source publication. As a result, the Web of Science Core Collection Journal Selection Process is unique in that our editors have a wealth of citation data available to them. 

We use citation analysis to determine the importance and influence of a journal in the surrounding literature of its subject. Citation analysis takes place on at least two levels. We analyze Total Citation counts to determine the integration of the journal into the surrounding literature over its entire publishing history. We use Impact Factor to determine the recent effect of the journal on the literature of its subject.