Journal Citation Reports 2021: New content and a new metric

Clarivate has updated the Journal Citation Reports, celebrating the continued evolution in our rich array of journal intelligence metrics drawn from the 2020 data in the Web of Science Core Collection™. This year’s edition includes more than 20,000 journals from 113 countries across five continents and 254 research categories in the sciences, social sciences, arts and humanities.

Each year’s release helps the research community to evaluate the world’s high-quality academic journals using a range of indicators, descriptive data and visualizations. Academic publishers across the globe use the reports to evaluate the impact of their journals relative to their field and promote them to the research community; researchers rely on them when deciding where to submit their journals; and librarians draw on their insights when managing their collections.

New for 2021, we’re pleased to introduce:

  • New expanded content: This year we’re adding over 70% more content to the JCR by including the Arts & Humanities Citation Index (AHCI)™ and the Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI)™. JCR coverage of journal literature will now reflect the full breadth of research covered in all the journals in the Web of Science Core Collection.

AHCI and ESCI journals will not be awarded a Journal Impact Factor

Along with the news about the addition of AHCI and ESCI content to JCR, we must report that journals from these indexes will not receive a Journal Impact Factor (JIF)™ in the JCR.

The reason for this is the JIF calculation is only applied to the most impactful or significant journals within the sciences and social sciences – that is, those that have met our selection criteria for both quality and impact and are indexed in Science Citation Index Expanded (SCIE)™ and/or Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI)™. Specifically, the four impact criteria (comparative citation analysis; author citation analysis; editorial board citation analysis; and content significance) are designed to select the most influential journals in their respective fields, using journal-level citation activity as the primary indicator of impact.

In terms of a potential JIF for AHCI journals, the criteria above do not precisely apply, because citation behavior and dynamics in the arts and humanities are distinctly different from other main research fields. As the AHCI product page points out, “Compared to the clinical, natural and social sciences, the arts & humanities may differ significantly regarding the type of content that is considered to be of scholarly importance, norms for reviewing content, and citation behavior.”

Therefore, although the Web of Science editors apply the same impact criteria to all our journal collections, the selection process places less emphasis on journal-level citation activity in the arts and humanities. This is why AHCI journals have never received a JIF.

As for the journals covered in ESCI: Although they have demonstrated the high levels of editorial rigor and publishing best practice required to pass our 24 quality criteria, these journals do not meet our four impact criteria. Thus, we do not calculate a JIF for ESCI journals.

As part of our collection curation process, we monitor all ESCI journals and those that develop sufficiently high levels of journal-level citation activity are re-evaluated for inclusion in SCIE, SSCI and/or AHCI.

  • New Journal Citation IndicatorThis new field-normalized indicator provides a single journal-level metric that can be easily interpreted and compared across disciplines. The Journal Citation Indicator will be calculated for all journals in the Web of Science Core Collection – including those that do not have a Journal Impact Factor (JIF)™. Developed by the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI)™, it is designed to complement the JIF – the original and longstanding metric for journal evaluation – and other metrics currently used in the research community.
  • New user experience: We redesigned the JCR user interface based on user feedback so the layered, rich data can be easily and intuitively explored and visualized. New graphics will improve the user experience with simpler, more direct searching while allowing a deeper look into the data. Dual access to the new and old platforms will be available through the end of 2021 so users will have time to become familiar with the new version.

  • Early Access contentThe expanded coverage in the 2021 JCR release will introduce Early Access articles, reflecting the earliest availability of new research as it appears in the ‘version of record’ prior to official publication.

Explore the key highlights from the 2021 Journal Citation Reports here. For more information, visit the Journal Citation Reports website to explore all available data, metrics and analysis.


We remind you that you can use video recommendations from our publishing house PC TECHNOLOGY CENTER to work with the Web of Science database:

– How to register at Web of Science


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