What's New in Journal Citation Reports?
JCR Editorial Expression of Concern
Our Suppression Principles
At the Web of Science Group, we believe in the importance of maintaining the integrity of the scientific record. We remain the only bibliometrics provider to monitor, survey and curate our data to identify anomalies that lead to distorted rankings. We have no doubt that distortion of citations is harmful to the way we make connections between different pieces of research, and the process of credit in science and discovery.
We realize that suppression of a journal from the Journal Citation Reports (JCR) affects publishers, editors, peer reviewers and authors, and we do not take action lightly. The importance of our data and metrics to the research and publishing communities means we have a particular and extraordinary responsibility to interrogate these data ourselves, curate and edit them. We identify the patterns to ensure that our data is as accurate as it can be, but we do not assume motive on behalf any party. Read more about our suppression principles.
Our team has conducted a detailed review of the 2015-2019 content, citations, authorships and editorial membership of the five journals named in our 2018 Editorial Expression of Concern (below). We found a pattern of highly concentrated referencing among four journals: Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Letters, Journal of Biobased Materials and Bioenergy, Journal of Biomedical Nanotechnology, and Journal of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, and including citations to a fifth journal Bone Research. The result of these citations was a distortion of the Journal Impact Factors of all five titles in 2017, leading to the original Editorial Expression of Concern. In addition, we found continuing distortion in four of these titles in 2018, leading to their suppression from the 2019 JCR.
The three following journals are suppressed from the JCR for citation stacking: Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Letters, Journal of Biobased Materials and Bioenergy, Journal of Biomedical Nanotechnology.
We found no anomaly in the content, citations, or authorships of Bone Research in the years reviewed. Unfortunately, the distortion of the Bone Research metrics, introduced by citation stacking from the journals listed above prevents us from publishing accurate 2018 JCR citation data, and the title will not be listed in the JCR this year.
The Journal of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology did not show evidence of anomalous patterns of citation in 2018 and will not be suppressed.
Similar analysis of year to date 2019 indicated no continuation of the citation anomalies, so that the journals will not be removed from indexing in Web of Science at this time.
Four journals in 2017, and three in 2018, contained a pattern of citations concentrated to the JIF numerator of each of the other journals in the set:
- Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Letters (2017, 2018)
- Journal of Biobased Materials and Bioenergy (2017, 2018)
- Journal of Biomedical Nanotechnology (2017, 2018)
- Journal of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (2017)
We will refer to these journals collectively as the Citing Journals.
The four Citing Journals published sets of articles characterized by large numbers of cited references concentrated exclusively to the prior two years of content in Bone Research or one of the other journals in the set under investigation. For some articles in this group, references that contributed to the JIF represented 50% of their total reference list, and over 90% of their references to any content in the prior two years of scholarship.
The references demonstrated additional abnormal characteristics:
- The articles contain few or no references to published works on bone biology and research other than the concentrated citations to Bone Research.
- The references are primarily located in introductory or discussion sections of the papers as generalized, non-specific demonstrations that the subject being discussed in the paper is being actively researched.
- The references appear in bulk, from five to as many as 30 in a single body-text reference.
The majority of over 13,000 authors in the five journals had regular publication patterns. However, a small cluster had large numbers of papers published in more than one of the Citing Journals. Three authors published over 50 papers in one or more of the Citing Journals. These authors were also affiliated with the editorial board of one or more of the Citing Journals. Finally, each had one or more highly cited papers in Bone Research that appear in that year’s JIF denominator as citable items.
Overlapped editorial boards and repeated authorship among a subset of the journals contributed to the magnification of the JIFs.
The net result of these actions has been a gross distortion of the JIF of Bone Research, and each of the Citing Journals, and elevated citation rates for groups of individual articles authored or co-authored by members of the editorial management of the Citing Journals.
We have communicated with the affected publishers throughout and have been assured of their cooperation and internal review of the matters described to them.
It has come to the attention of the editorial and management team for the Journal Citation Reports that there has been a problematic pattern of citations amongst the journals Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Letters, Journal of Biobased Materials and Bioenergy, Journal of Biomedical Nanotechnology and Journal of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (all published by American Scientific Publishers), and including a particular concentration of citations to the journal Bone Research (published by Springer Nature, in partnership with the West China School of Stomatology, Sichuan University, and the International Chinese Musculoskeletal Research Society).
The possibility of manipulation of citation metrics is a serious matter, and Clarivate Analytics remains the only bibliometrics provider to monitor, survey and curate our data to identify anomalies that lead to distorted rankings.
We have initiated a process of investigation of the journals named above, along with affiliated publications. When we have completed a thorough review, we will take any appropriate action; this may result in one or more journals being removed from the JCR, with a possible further action of removal from indexing in Web of Science.
Because these citations have affected the published metrics for several journals, Clarivate Analytics is publishing this Editorial Expression of Concern to alert our users to this information.
JCR Data Update (September 25, 2017)
After JCR data were published in June 2017, we were able to obtain materials whose absence had prevented journals from receiving a Journal Impact Factor, as well as to correct metrics for a small number of journals. The 2016 JCR data (2017 release) are now complete and all updates have been fully incorporated into the product.
After 2016 JCR data were reloaded and finalized in September 2017, we became aware of a newly occurring and unanticipated cited work variant for Astronomical Journal, which caused a significant undercounting of citations. The following metrics include all citations associated with the new variant:
- Total citations: 32263
- Journal Impact Factor: 3.773
- 5-year Impact Factor: 4.143
- Immediacy Index: 1.085
Expanded Metrics and New Features
- Normalized Eigenfactor® is the Eigenfactor Score normalized, by rescaling the total number of journals in the JCR each year, so that the average journal has a score of 1. Journals can then be compared and influence measured by their score relative to 1. Available in both the Journal Rankings grid and on Journal Profile Pages.
- Percentage of Articles in Citable Items gives information on what proportion of a journal’s citable items are Articles vs. Reviews. Available in both the Journal Rankings grid and on Journal Profile Pages.
- Journal Impact Factor Percentile transforms the rank in category by Journal Impact Factor into a percentile, allowing more meaningful cross-category comparison.
- Open Access Filter and Badge - sort results by Open Access status and immediately identify Open Access journals by the badge on the Journal Profile page.
- New Data Downloads - On the journal profile page, users can elect to download the cited and citing data tables in CSV/XLS format. The Journal Relationships visualization is now downloadable in PDF format.
- Navigating Year-to-Year in the Journal Profle Page - view data that reflects the year of your choice by clicking the hyperlinked year in the Key Indicators table.
- Citable Items Document Page - now features the document type and allows filtering based on document type.
To see the title changes specific to the edition and year of JCR in which you are working:
- From the Home page, select Journals By Rank.
- Click View Title Changes in the menu on the left.
In addition, a title changes link will appear in the full record of a journal affected by a recent journal title change.
The titles listed below are published in individually titled sections. The individual sections are listed in Web of Science according to their unique titles. For the purposes of JCR listing, the sections are combined and the parent title is retained with a single Journal Impact Factor that combines item counts and citation data for all sections. The decision to combine sections to a single JCR listing is based on JCR Editors' analysis of citation aggregation effectiveness.
TIERAERZTL PRAX G N and TIERAERZTL PRAX K H are combined to: TIERAERZTL PRAX
MMWR-MORBID MORTAL W, MMWR SURVEILL SUMM, and MMWR RECOMM REP are combined to: MMWR-MORBID MORTAL W
How to Cite Journal Citation Reports
When citing Journal Citation Reports, be sure to include the following information:
- If you wish to call out a specific data point, the data year and the data point name (for example, 2017 Journal Impact Factor)
- The full product name, Journal Citation Reports, in italics
- The edition: Science Edition or Social Sciences Edition. (The edition is not essential)
- Name of the publisher, Clarivate Analytics.
- Copyright year: The copyright year appears at the bottom of every page in JCR.
- 2017 Journal Impact Factor, Journal Citation Reports Science Edition (Clarivate Analytics, 2018)
- Journal Citation Reports Social Sciences Edition (Clarivate Analytics, 2018)
- 2017 Journal Impact Factor, Journal Citation Reports (Clarivate Analytics, 2018)