2023 JCRs 'redefine trust and impact'

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Nandita Quaderi explains the important changes to the 2023 Journal Citation Reports release

In our rapidly evolving world, the pursuit of knowledge relies on trustworthy and reliable sources. For nearly half a century, the Journal Citation Reports (JCR) has been a beacon of credibility, providing the global academic community with invaluable insights into the world's leading journals. Today, I am proud to announce the 2023 release of the Journal Citation Reports, with updates that usher in a new era of comprehensive coverage and the evolution of the Journal Impact Factor (JIF) to become an indicator of journal trustworthiness as well as impact.

Our unwavering commitment to delivering transformative intelligence has led us to expand the scope of the JCR, ensuring that it remains an indispensable tool for researchers, publishers, editors, librarians, and funders. The 2023 JCR release encompasses more than 21,500 high-quality academic journals across more than 250 scientific and research disciplines. Our editorial team’s rigorous selection process means that users can trust the information and data we provide, as only journals meeting our stringent quality criteria are included in the Web of Science Core Collection index.

Embracing important changes to the 2023 Journal Citation Reports release

Central to the JCR's reputation is the Journal Impact Factor, a widely recognized metric that has served as a measure of scholarly journal impact for almost 50 years. This year, we have taken a significant stride forward by extending the JIF to all quality journals in the Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI) and the multidisciplinary Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI). As a result, more than 9,000 journals from more than 3,000 publishers around the world have received a JIF for the first time.

Our decision to give all quality journals a JIF provides full transparency to each and every article and citation that has contributed to a journal’s scholarly impact, helping to demonstrate its value to the research community. It also helps level the playing field for all quality journals including those that are open access, recently launched, or have a niche or regional scope. This year’s release reflects that increased diversity, with 5,600+ of those journals – more than a quarter – publishing all their content open access, and more than a 7% increase in journals from the Global South. These key highlights exemplify the dynamic and increasingly inclusive nature of scholarly research in today's world.

Another important change this year is that the 2023 JCR release presents the JIF with one decimal place, rather than three. This move to one decimal place will introduce more ties, which we hope will encourage users to consider additional indicators and descriptive data when comparing journals – fostering a more holistic understanding of a journal's influence and impact.

This year’s changes are part of an ongoing evolution: in 2021 we added AHCI and ESCI to the JCR; this year those additional journals are also eligible to receive a JIF; and next year they will also be included in JIF rankings and quartiles.

One of the many other useful indicators available within the JCR is the Journal Citation Indicator (JCI), a field-normalised, journal-level metric that facilitates easy interpretation and cross-disciplinary comparison. By highlighting this metric, we empower researchers to make fair comparisons between journals from different disciplines which often have different overall levels of citation activity – for example, citations in the arts and humanities are generally lower and slower than those in the sciences. This indicator further helps them to identify journals of utmost importance in their fields.

Reinforcing a strong foundation for the future of scholarly research

The 2023 JCR represents a transformative step towards trustworthiness, transparency, and accountability. Our editorial team meticulously evaluates publications for inclusion in the Web of Science, the world's largest publisher-neutral global citation database. This rigorous evaluation process, conducted by a global team of expert in-house editors, ensures that the JCR data are accurate and reliable, instilling confidence from the academic community.

The landscape of scholarly publishing is continuously evolving, and so must our approach. Throughout my career – as a researcher, a senior publishing executive, and in my current role with the Web of Science – I have always been aware of the challenges we, the scholarly community, face in knowing what content to trust. That is why we remain committed to delivering unbiased and publisher-neutral information, ensuring that our users can make confident decisions and rely on the data and metrics in our products, reports, and analyses.

‘It takes a village’ – our shared responsibility for research integrity

There is a general consensus that all members of the scholarly community have a shared responsibility to uphold research integrity – no single stakeholder can tackle this issue by themselves. Elisabeth Bik expressed it well at the recent SSP annual conference in Portland when she said, ‘It takes a village.’

As we unveil the 2023 Journal Citation Reports, I invite publishers, librarians, researchers and all other stakeholders to explore the wealth of data and indicators offered by this resource, and the meaningful comparisons and insights they can unlock.

The JCR is so much more than just the JIF; it is a comprehensive journal intelligence platform built on a highly selective and curated dataset. Trusted data and metrics have become ever more important in the face of increasing levels of fraudulent content polluting the scholarly record.

We look forward to working with the community to ensure the integrity of the scholarly record serves as a reliable foundation for research and discovery for many generations to come.

Nandita Quaderi is Editor-in-Chief and Vice President of the Web of Science, Clarivate.