Kamis, 30 September 2021

How to be successfully listed a journal in the SSCI or SCIE of Web of Science Database?

 How to be successfully listed a journal in the Social Science Citation Index or Science Citation Index Expanded?

 This is a nice article taken from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5717410/


Is your ESCI WoS indexed journal eligible to be indexed in the Social Science Citation Index (SSCI) or the Science Citation Index Expanded (SCIE)? How does an editor prepare for the application? 


Although Clarivate Analytics (formerly Thomson Reuters) has disclosed its selection criteria, the quantitative criteria are not clearly expressed, such as the relative value of the impact factor, total number of citations, multiple nationalities of authors, and multiple nationalities of editorial board members [1]. Among all the items to be considered during the selection process, the uniqueness of the aims and scope is the most difficult item for the journal editor to prepare for the application. Although a journal's competency might fulfill all of the other criteria, the uniqueness or novelty of its aims and scope is the most difficult item to clearly and concisely explain because specific manuscripts might be submitted to at least one journal already indexed in the SSCI or SCIE. Therefore, I suggest a relatively more quantitative checklist for the self-evaluation of journals that apply to the SSCI or SCIE, based on the Clarivate Analytics' journal selection process and the reasons for rejection received by numerous editors (Appendix 1). 


Why is a journal rejected?

The most common reasons that Clarivate Analytics rejects a journal are as follows. 

(1) It lacks multiple nationalities among authors. Furthermore, there is too large of a proportion of authors from one country. 

(2) It lacks multiple nationalities among editorial board members.

 (3) It has low numbers of citations. 

(4) The aims and scope are not unique enough or do not fit into a niche compared to already indexed journals.


Other comments dispatched to the editors were as follows. 

(1) There was an insufficient number of articles supported by research grants. 

(2) There were too many editorial board members' articles in a single issue. 

(3) There were too many articles by one author in a single issue. 

(4) There were too many non-citable articles. 

(5) The period from submission to publication was too long. 

(6) The number of articles per year was less than 20. 

(7) Research and publication ethics were inadequate; there was no informed consent for identifiable photographs. 

(8) There was a sufficient number of journals of the same type and from the same region.


A journal's self-evaluation checklist for application to SSCI or SCIE

Appendix 1 provides a checklist of suggested criteria, except for the first item, which is required. Clarivate Analytics has not stated the precise values of each item, and the values might relate to a journal's category. The exact values of the selection criteria are difficult for journal editors to assess when they are preparing to apply to the SSCI or SCIE. 

 Therefore, Appendix 1 provides general guidelines for editors to evaluate their journals' eligibility using journal metrics. Except for the journal's uniqueness, all quantitative and descriptive items might be improved to reach the highest level. Therefore, a journal's identity in its field, niche, and its geographic characteristics should be stressed in its aims and scope.

  1. Explanations of the items
  2. The journal has been published regularly for at least three issues

Online-only journals have been published continuously for at least nine months, with at least one article per month and at least 20 articles per year. This is a minimum requirement for selection, and it is information disclosed without ambiguity.

  1. The peer-review system is concrete to guarantee scientific integrity.

This item concerns the quality of individual articles. There should be the scientific presentation of the research results, including clear and concise goals or assumptions of hypotheses, correctly chosen and applied statistical analyses, reasonable and logical interpretations of results, and conclusions based on the purpose and results. Moreover, the results must be reproducible. Editors should do their best to screen for the minimum quality in the submitted manuscripts. There should be no research or publication misconduct. If the peer review system is not thorough, scientific integrity cannot be accomplished. To meet this criterion, I suggest that editors adopt open data policies [2]. If raw or processed data were available, the reviewers and readers would quickly assess reproducibility using the same methodology.

  1. The period from submission to publication is less than one year

When a peer review system is efficient, review and decision on a manuscript is quickly completed with rapid interaction with the submitters. Sometimes, determinations on case reports are delayed because of a large volume of manuscripts. I recommend the publication of every article as an "epub ahead of print" upon their acceptance. This approach would be likely to satisfy authors and readers as the fulfillment of the rapid publication process.

  1. The proportion of articles written by editorial board members as corresponding authors is less than 0.40

When the proportion of articles written by editorial board members is too high, the peer review system could be doubted. Of course, a journal's editorial board members are its most important contributors and reviewers. However, articles written by board members should be limited to a certain proportion to provide sufficient publication opportunities to various researchers around the world. The above-stated ratio is a suggestion because it is challenging to know the precise criterion across journals.

  1. The proportion of articles in one issue written by the same author is less than 0.30

It is not desirable for any journal to be dominated by one researcher or their group. This phenomenon might occur when the number of submissions is small, and one researcher or group submits manuscripts to vitalize the journal. Editors should take leadership roles in recruiting manuscripts from numerous researchers in the relevant fields. The above-stated proportion is a suggestion.

  1. The proportion of the non-citable articles is less than 0.20

Regarding the impact factor, some manuscripts are treated as non-citable articles, such as those with many images. It is best when citable articles dominate a journal. The above-stated proportion is a suggestion.

  1. The references are formatted strictly as stipulated in the instructions to authors.

SSCI and SCIE are citation databases with precisely accurate information on references. When reference lists include errors, the journal is evaluated as poorly edited. Therefore, manuscript editing and copyediting is mandatory to achieve accurate reference lists. I recommend that editors employ manuscript editors or request to professional manuscript editing company.

  1. The proportion of research articles supported by research funds is at least 0.10

Funded studies have been evaluated and screened by their funding agencies; therefore, they might be better designed and more scientifically integrated than those not funded. Many authors who submit their papers to clinical journals find it challenging to obtain funding, which is why the suggested proportion is only 0.10.

  1. The journal meets research and publication ethical standards.

The scope of research and publication ethics is broad, making it challenging to identify the core aspects of ethical standards. I suggest the following action plan.


a. The following statement should be at the beginning of the "Instructions to Authors" and in the journal's policies.

"The journal fully adheres to the ethical guidelines for research and publication described in the Guidelines on Good Publication (http://publicationethics.org/resources/guidelines), and Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing (joint statement by COPE, DOAJ, WAME, and OASPA; http://doaj.org/bestpractice)."

 b. Clarify all of the article processing charges required by the journal.

 c. State that all submitted manuscripts are screened using plagiarism identification software, such as CrossCheck (for similarity checks) [4].

d. Add "Conflict of Interest" statements to all published articles.

e. State-specific author contributions as authorship credit when there are two or more authors.

f. Clarify the process for handling research or publication misconduct using the Committee on Publication Ethics (http://publicationethics.org/resources/flowcharts).

g. For life science journals, statements on human or animal rights, statements on informed consent, and institutional review board approval should be considered depending on the particulars of the conducted research. For clinical trials, registration to the clinical trial registry is mandatory. Informed consent for photographs in which individuals could be identified should be required [5].

 h. Copyright information must be clearly and concisely described.

i. There should be an archival policy considering the journal's content.

  1. The self-citation rate is less than 0.25

Clarivate Analytics reported that the self-citation rates of 85% of journals were less than 15% [1]. Journals that are not indexed in the Web of Science Core Collection (WOS) do not need to consider this item; however, journals that are indexed in the WOS as Emerging Sources Citation Index should control their self-citation rates. This is a suggested rate, and, in the case of a journal published in a regional language, the self-citation rate might exceed 50% because the citation frequency by other international journals is shallow due to the language. The limitations of these journals because of language are difficult to overcome.

  1. Journal title, article title, author, address, abstract, and bibliographic information are fully descriptive.

This is a basic standard of scholarly journals.

  1. The language in which the journal is published in English.

This is a basic standard of international scientific or social science journals [6]. Journals published in languages other than English that are important to specific fields might be accepted as SSCI or SCIE journals. However, the current likelihood of this is rare. Furthermore, the number of citations of the articles in these journals cannot be competitive because of the language barrier. There are cases of dropping journals from the SCIE because of low citation rates.

  1. The aims and scope are unique compared to other SCIE or SSCI journals, indicating that the journal would enrich the database.

b.      Moreover, the aims and scope are precisely stated in no more than 150 words. This criterion is an item that is difficult to accomplish. A lucid and precise description would likely persuade readers and editors that the journal is unique in its category. The provided word count is a suggestion.

  1. The number of authors' countries a year is at least 10, and the proportion of articles of which the authors are from a single country is less than 0.50

d.      It isn't easy to know how many multiple nationality articles would be sufficient. The 10% and 50% values are suggestions, and, notably, it is tough for non-English journals to meet this criterion.

  1. The editorial board members and consultants are from at least 15 countries.

f.       It is difficult to identify the exact criterion, but at least 15 countries are a suggestion.

  1. The total number of citations is more than twice the number of articles published in a given year.

h.      It is difficult to identify the exact criterion, but a suggestion is twice as many citations as published articles.

  1. The manually calculated impact factor of the WOS corresponds to at least 30% of the Journal Citation Ranking (JCR) in the specific category.

j.        Although the most frequent reason that indexing is rejected is the low impact factor, it is difficult to determine its importance. For example, a journal with an impact factor above 50% in its category was rejected, whereas another journal with a very low impact factor was indexed. Therefore, an impact factor value of 30% is a guess. Thus, the impact factor per se is essential; however, it is not the only factor considered by Clarivate Analytics.

  1. The citation histories of authors and editorial board members are sufficient to attract established scholars.

l.        When authors' and editorial members' articles are frequently cited, the quality of the journal can be evaluated as excellent. This factor is considered when journals are new, and an impact factor has not been calculated. In addition, famous editorial board members could easily recruit high-quality manuscripts. According to the Hirsch index, there is no known value placed on the extent of their performance [7]. 

 m.    It is challenging to recruit manuscripts from well-established authors, but it is possible to recruit editorial board members at a certain Hirsch index level. Although I do not suggest a precise Hirsch index value on this item, I recommend recruiting editors with Hirsch indexes of at least 10.

  1. Electronic formats (XML and PDF) are compatible with digital standards.

o.      I recommend that a publisher or editors create complete text JATS XML files as the digital standard of the journal. This is the ISO standard of scholarly journals on the Internet [8].

  1. The journal's website states the aims and scope, editorial board, archives, instructions to authors, and contact information.

q.      The journal's homepage should be precise and accurate so that all authors and readers can access the information quickly and constructively.

  1. A digital object identifier (DOI) is provided for each article.

s.       This is the basic standard of scholarly journals. No scientific, technological, or medical journals exist in Korea without DOI numbers because it is a mandatory identifier on all journal articles [9].

  1. Journal title, year of publication, volume, and/or issue number, article title, and author names and addresses are stated on the journal's website.

u.      This is the basic bibliographic information of all journals.


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