Why Web of Science Journals are Essential to Researchers

Learn how journals are accepted to Web of Science
By Nikki Borgel on Nov 20, 2020
Web of Science

For years, having published research has been required for most academics seeking tenure at their university, but recently, it has become more common for universities to only recognize research published in prestigiously indexed and abstracted journals. These requirements arise because indices give specific metrics that rank the success of the journal and the citation impact of each author. High ratings help authors and their affiliated universities gain recognition in the academic community and access greater research funding, which in turn allows their careers and programs to flourish.

Some of the most sought-after indices and abstracting services include Web of Science™, Scopus®, INSPEC, PsycInfo®, and others. Because of the prestige of these indices, included journals receive a greater number of submissions for each issue, increasing the competition for each coveted spot in the journal. With greater competition comes higher-quality papers in the submission queue and lower acceptance rates, meaning it is far more difficult to be accepted into these publications than those that are not yet indexed.

The push for indexing means that for many academics, the stress of publishing their research goes far beyond simply being accepted. All journals require their submissions to be polished and ready for peer review, indicating it can be a critical mistake not to have your manuscript professionally reviewed before submission.

Fortunately, eContent Pro International is available to help authors and researchers at every step of their publication journey by offering comprehensive and professional editorial services including Copy Editing & Proofreading, and Journal Recommendation. With the stress of indexing in mind, we recognize that not every researcher is an expert in indices even if their career relies on their inclusion. As such, the eContent Pro International team has put together a comprehensive profile of one of the most requested indices, Web of Science, and all its requirements.

What is Web of Science?

Founded in 1955 and growing steadily ever since, Web of Science is one of the most prevalent and respected indices in academia. The Web of Science (previously Web of Knowledge) Core Collection is made up of 7 indices including:

  • Science Citation Index Expanded (SCIE) – Originally founded as Science Citation Index (SCI) in 1964, SCIE features over 9,200 journals in 178 scientific subjects dating back to 1900.
  • Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI) – Features 3,400 journals covering 58 social science subjects as well as selected works from 3,500 other leading scientific and technical journals dating back to 1900.
  • Arts & Humanities Citation Index (AHCI) – Features 1,800 journals across 28 arts and humanities disciplines dating back to 1975. Special consideration is given during the review process to alternative content types based on their subject area.
  • Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI) – Launched in 2015, the Emerging Sources Citation Index includes over 7,800 titles with backlists dating to 2005. These journals cover all subjects and disciplines and accept specialized and regionally focused content.
  • Conference Proceedings Citation Index (CPCI) – Contains over 205,000 conference proceedings that highlight cutting-edge research dating back to 1990.
  • Book Citation Index (BKCI) – Features over 116,000 peer-edited books from all subject areas with coverage dating beginning in 2005.
  • Current Chemical Reactions and Index Chemicus – An extension of the Web of Science Core Collection featuring deep chemical structure and reaction indexing with an integrated chemical drawing tool.

All these indices are owned by the parent company, Clarivate. Together, they span 254 subject areas and include over 34,200 journals dating back to 1900. Each of their included publications is expertly vetted by their editorial team based on 28 rigorous criteria to ensure only the most comprehensive and ground-breaking publications are included in their databases.

What Makes Web of Science Unique?

With its wide range and scope, Web of Science is now considered to be one of the most essential indices in academic publishing, with many universities requiring that tenured professors be featured specifically in a Web of Science indexed publication. While Web of Science may not be the largest academic index like Scopus, they have many individual factors that set them apart from Scopus and other indices to make them just as prestigious and credible. Things that Web of Science offers that no other indexing service includes are:

  • Journal Impact Factor – Clarivate Analytics, the owner of Web of Science is also the founder of the well-known Journal Citation Reports (JCR) which provides a wealth of insights into the success and impact of Web of Science journals, including metrics such as the Journal Impact Factor which determines the average frequency with which an article in a particular journal will be cited in a set period.
  • Cover-to-Cover Indexing - In addition to being one of the largest research indices on the market, Web of Science is also one of the few to offer cover-to-cover indexing in which every article published in an indexed publication is fully featured and discoverable within the database.
  • Cited Reference Searching – Web of Science keeps documentation on all citations allowing you to search through the history of a single article and track how an idea has been used and developed over time.
  • Funding Data Index – Web of Science is one of the only indices that provides funding information for all research projects in which it is offered.
  • Citation Sync with Google Scholar – Web of Science keeps its citation records synced and up to date not only within their system but publicly available on Google Scholar.
  • Large Open Access Collection – Web of Science does not discriminate on how a journal or publication makes its information accessible to the public and features over 5,000 hybrid and fully open access journals.
  • Rigorous 28 Criteria Evaluation System – All journal submissions to Web of Science are taken through a 4-step evaluation process which looks for the following criteria:
    • ISSN
    • Journal Title
    • Journal Publisher
    • URL for Online Journals
    • Content Access
    • Peer Review Policy
    • Contact Details
    • Scholarly Content – original material caters to graduate, post-doctoral, or professional audiences
    • Article Titles/Abstracts in English – the body of text can be any language if the title and abstract are translated
    • Bibliographic Information in Roman Script – includes references, names, and affiliations for ease of indexing
    • Clarity of Language – easy to understand
    • Timeliness and/or Publication Volume – journal conforms to stated publication frequency and maintains an average number of articles published
    • Website Functionality/Journal Format – easy to navigate
    • Presence of Ethics Statements – must be transparent about ethics guidelines and have them listed on the website or linked
    • Editorial Affiliation Details – include institution and country
    • Author Affiliation Details – include institution and country
    • Editorial Board Composition – the editorial board must match its stated diversity and align with the volume and breadth of published articles
    • Validity of Statements – Investigates ethical and plagiarism complaints if necessary
    • Peer Review – articles must show evidence of peer review
    • Content Relevance – content matches title/scope
    • Grant Support Details – funding is acknowledged in fields where it is utilized
    • Adherence to Community Standards – adhere to ethics and subject area best practice
    • Author Distribution – diversity
    • Appropriate Citations to the Literature – all articles/research include citations of related literature
    • Comparative Citation Analysis – number and sources of citations considered
    • Author Citation Analysis – most authors have a publication history and history of adequate citations
    • Editorial Board Members Citation Analysis – board members have publication history with Web of Science
    • Content Significance – content enriches the breadth of coverage of Web of Science with original ideas
  • What is the Process of Acceptance?

    For Web of Science, the process of acceptance is broken down into four main parts: Initial Triage, Editorial Triage, Editorial Evaluation (Quality), and Editorial Evaluation (Impact). Throughout these four steps, a journal is judged against Web of Science’s 24 quality-based criteria and 4 impact criteria.

    It is also important to note that of the seven Web of Science indices, publications can only be submitted to the Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI). Once accepted there, publications are routinely re-evaluated for quality, and those showing proper growth will be indexed within Science Citation Index Expanded (SCIE), Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), or Arts & Humanities Citation Index (AHCI) depending on its subject area. Below, the process of acceptance is outlined.

    1. Initial Triage – This step ensures that the editorial team has sufficient information to judge a journal and its validity, as well as makes sure they have someone to contact if any questions arise regarding the journal. If a journal fails at this stage in the process, there is no penalty against them, and they can resubmit at any time once the reasons for rejection are addressed.
      • The criteria judged at this stage are the existence of ISSN, Journal Title, Journal Publisher, URL for Online Journals, Content Access, Peer Review Policy, Contact Details
    2. Editorial Triage – This stage of review allows the team to determine if a deep-dive editorial evaluation is warranted. Again, there is no waiting period for journals to resubmit if they are rejected at this stage.
      • The criteria judged at this stage are: Scholarly Content, Article Titles/Abstracts in English, Bibliographic Information in Roman Script, Clarity of Language, Timeliness and/or Publication, Website Functionality/Journal Format, Presence of Ethics Statements, Editorial Affiliation Details, and Author Affiliation Details
    3. Editorial Evaluation (Quality) – This step checks to see if the stated scope and title align with the journal’s contents. Failure in this stage requires a 2-year wait period before resubmission.
      • The criteria judged at this stage are: Editorial Board Composition, Validity of Statements, Peer Review, Content Relevance, Grant Support Details, Adherence to Community Standards, Author Distribution, and Appropriate Citations to the Literature
    4. Editorial Evaluation (Impact) – This step evaluates whether a journal has a large enough audience/citation impact to be included in the Web of Science selection of indices. Failure in this stage also requires a 2-year wait period before resubmission.
      • The criteria judged at this stage are: Comparative Citation Analysis, Author Citation Analysis, Editorial Board Members Citation Analysis, and Content Significance

    If indexing is a primary concern to you as an author, finding a journal that meets your needs is a top priority. Fortunately, eContent Pro International’s free Journal Finder can help. To use this free service and receive the most relevant journal recommendations for your article, simply enter your manuscript title, subject area, keywords, and abstract in the straightforward web form. Once submitted, it will provide you with five relevant Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) affiliated journals in your subject area along with their titles, publishers, and links to the journal’s website.

    To further streamline this process and provide additional information, eContent Pro International offers a Journal Recommendation service. This paid service builds upon the free journal finder and provides in-depth reports created by an expert eContent Pro International editor. Simply just submit your manuscript and any key criteria (i.e. specific indices, open access availability, etc.) They will review your requirements and provide a customized report of recommended journals that will include metrics and indexing, editorial board information, and important submission links. This paid service is ideal for researchers looking to save time, as navigating journal websites to find all of the necessary information you need to select a target journal can take hours or even days depending on your subject area and personal criteria. The expert journal recommendation team provides all the information you need in a single, personalized pdf in 3-5 business days. 

    While finding the perfect journal for your research may be one of the most important aspects of the research publication process, ensuring your research is the most polished it can be for submission is also vital. Whether you are faced with a quick turnaround time for a new round of edits or in need of a proof of copy-editing certificate, utilizing our high-quality, affordable, and expeditious editorial services on your manuscript can increase the chance of being accepted in a publication of your choice in the shortest amount of time.

    While finding the perfect journal for your research may be one of the most important aspects of the research publication process, ensuring your research is the most polished it can be for submission is also vital. Whether you are faced with a quick turnaround time for a new round of edits or in need of a proof of copy-editing certificate, utilizing our high-quality, affordable, and expeditious editorial services on your manuscript can increase the chance of being accepted in a publication of your choice in the shortest amount of time.

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    To learn more about how our services can enhance your document or to upload a project, please visit our webpage here, or contact us directly at customerservice@econtentpro.com or 717-533-4010.

    About eContent Pro International: eContent Pro International is a U.S.-based, professional editorial and publishing services provider for authors, publishing houses, libraries, organizations, university presses, and societies. Offering professional copy editing, translation, scientific and scholarly editing, journal recommendation, typesetting, figure, chart, table, and equation conversions, as well as other production services, we have provided the highest quality editorial services and content advisement to scholarly outlets and individuals around the world. To learn more about eContent Pro International, visit the website here or email customerservice@econtentpro.com.

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