The Science Citation Index (SCI) is a well-known citation index originally produced by the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) in 1960, which is now owned by Thomson Reuters. There are CD and printed editions, covering a smaller number of journals. It is also made available online through the Web of Science database, a part of the Web of Knowledge collection of databases.
Science Citation Index provides researchers, administrators, faculty, and students with quick, powerful access to the bibliographic and citation information they need to find relevant, comprehensive research data, Overcome information overload and focus on essential data from over 3,500 of the world’s leading scientific and technical journals in the mathematics, physics, chemistry, agriculture, forestry, medicine, life sciences, astronomy, geography, environment, materials, engineering, and other disciplines.
ISI use a stringent selection criteria and evaluation process to select the source of journals, and there is a slight increase or decrease each year, to make it fully cover the most important and influential research in the world.
The above characteristics of the practice, makes SCI not only a document retrieval tool, but also a basis of evaluation for scientific research. The quantity of papers included in SCI for a scientific research institutions reflects the institution’s level of scientific research, especially for basic research; the number of personal papers included in SCI and citation counts reflects his own research capacity and academic level.
The Evaluation Process
Journal evaluation and selection is conducted on an ongoing basis at ISI with journals added to and deleted from the database as frequently as every 2 weeks. ISI’s editorial staff reviews nearly 2,000 new journal titles annually, but only 10%-12% of the journals evaluated are selected. Moreover, existing journal coverage in ISI products is also constantly under review. Journals now covered are monitored to ensure that they are maintaining high standards and a clear relevance to the ISI products in which they are covered.
Each journal goes through an extensive evaluation process before being selected or rejected. The ISI editors performing journal evaluations have educational backgrounds relevant to their areas of responsibility, as well as experience and education in information science. Their knowledge of the literature of their field is extended by consultation with established networks of advisors who participate in the evaluation process when needed.
Many factors are taken into account when evaluating journals for coverage, ranging from qualitative to quantitative. The journal’s basic publishing standards, its editorial content, the international diversity of its authorship, and the citation data associated with it are all considered. No one factor is considered in isolation, but by combining and inter-relating the data, the editor is able to determine the journal’s overall strengths and weaknesses.
1. Basic Journal Standards
A. Timeliness of publication
B. International editorial conventions
C. English language article titles, abstracts, and keywords are essential
D. Application of the peer review process
2. Editorial Content：The true core of the scientific literature is embodied in a relatively small number of journals. However, scientific research continues to give rise to specialized fields of studies, and new journals emerge as published research on a new topic achieves critical mass. The ISI editor determines if the content of a new journal will enrich the database or if the topic is already adequately covered.
The enormous amount of data at their fingertips, and their daily observation of virtually every new science journal published, position the ISI editorial team to spot emerging topics, and “hot fields” in the literature.
3. International Diversity: Geographic representation of a journal is another consideration.
4. Citation Analysis: Several types of citation data are used. For established journals, these include overall citation rate, impact factor, and immediacy index. For brand new journals, the editors examine the publishing record of the journal’s authors and editorial board members, noting where their articles have been published and if their work has been cited. Also, ISI publishes the JCR (Journal Citation Reports) every year.
JCR offers a systematic, objective means to critically evaluate the world’s leading journals, with quantifiable, statistical information based on citation data from 4700 journals, which includes 3500 journals selected by SCI. By compiling articles’ cited references, JCR Web helps to measure research influence and impact at the journal and category levels, and shows the relationship between citing and cited journals.
A journal’s impact factor is calculated by dividing the number of current year citations to the source items published in that journal during the previous two years. You can use this number to evaluate or compare a journal’s relative importance to others in the same field or see how frequently articles are cited to determine which journals may be better for your collection. JCR is still the only usable tool to rank thousands of scholarly and professional journals within their discipline or subdiscipline. For educated decisions about selecting and deselecting journals in college libraries, and gauging the prestige and influence of journals, it is also a very good tool for the authors to identify the most appropriate, influential journals in which to publish.