Tuesday, April 8, 2014

How to check whether the Journal is indexed in ISI-WoS (Web of Science)?

Introduction to Web Of Science

Web of Science, (WoS) (previously known as ISI-Web of Knowledge [ISI-WoK]) is an online subscription based scientific service maintained by Thomson Reuters. Web of Science gives comprehensive citation search experience. Web of Science (WoS) (Figure 1) gives access to huge range of databases that reference cross disciplinary research, which allows for in-depth exploration of specified sub field within an academic or scientific discipline [1].

Eugene Garfield (Figure 2) is the founder of The Institute of Scientific Information (ISI) known as "father of citation indexing of academic literature" [2], who launched Science Citation Index (SCI) which in turn becomes Web of Science (WoS) [3]. 

Figure 2 : Eugene Garfield

However, in 1992, Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) was acquired by Thomson Reuters and is now called Thomson Reuters-Web of Science. There is no difference between ISI-WoK and Thomson Reuters-Wos in coverage [4]. 

Figure 3 illustrates the diversity of database for academic literature searching in the internet. JSTOR, SCOPUS, ULRICH, Google Scholar, ERIC, Index Coppernicus, DOAJ, EBSCO, ProQuest  are a few example of academic searching databases that available in the internet. These databases (blue rain drops) are not covered by Thomson Reuters-WoS. Only the databases under the umbrella (yellow boxes, underneath the umbrella on the right and the left sides) are covered by Thomson Reuters-WoS and search-able within the WoS.

Figure 3 : Illustration of diversity of academic searching databases in the internet

The following databases: FSTA - the food science resource, INSPEC, Korean Citation Index, MEDLINE, Russian Citation Index and SciELO Citation Index are not Thomson Reuters databases [5]. They are owned by other organizations. However, Thomson Reuters is getting the data from respective organizations and indexing it in WoS [5]. Those databases are called Hosted databases (collaboration between Thomson Reuters and other organizations, for example, Thomson Reuters and the Chinese Academy of Sciences host the Chinese Citation Index Data in Web of Science).

Up-to-date (as December 2015), Thomson Reuters covers estimated 33,000 journal titles in WoS [4]. Out of 33,000 journals listed in Thomson Reuters-Web Of Science formerly known as ISI-Web Of Knowledge (WOK), only 19, 000 journals listed as Thomson Reuters-WoS (Web of Science) Core Collection (Figure 3) [4].

The journals listed in databases on the left part (under the yellow umbrella) are covered in Web of Science Core Collection (WoS CC). Journals indexed in Science Citation Index Expanded(SCI-E) and Sosial Science Citation Index (SSCI) are eligible for Impact Factor(IF) calculation in Journal Citation Report (JCR) [4] [refer figure 3 {red arrow : only journals indexed in SCI-E and SSCI will appear in JCR with IF}]

Journal indexed in Arts & Humanities Citation Index (AHCI) will not appear in JCR because in this area, a large amount of work is done in books rather than in journals [4]. Conference Proceedings Citation Index (CPCI), Book Citation Index, Current Chemical Reaction and Index Chemicus not appear in JCR and thus with no IF

Universiti Malaya's policies on publication in Web of Science

Universiti Malaya (UM) has subscribed only for WoS CC, Derwent Innovation Index, Korean Citation Index and SciELO Citation Index (Figure 4). As UM has not subscribed for other databases such as Biological Abstract, BIOSIS, CABI etc., UM's post grads and staffs will not be able to see those databases in "All Databases" as in Figure 4.

Figure 4 : Databases in WoS subscribed by UM

UM only recognizes Original Research Articles and Review Papers (letters, commentaries, short communications, others ARE NOT INCLUDE) indexed in SCI-E, SSCI and AHCI [6] as ISI-WoS publication for graduation purposes [7]. See Figure 5 for example of publication requirement for UM's postgraduate student. 

Figure 5 : Example of publication requirement for Master's graduation in UM (2012)

The conference proceedings are not recognized as the ISI publication in Universiti Malaya even though the proceedings are listed in WoS CC [5]. New publication requirement for Universiti Malaya's postgraduate candidates by research (as senate approval on 28.05.2015) can be found here.


1. Check for the journal title in Master Journal List (MJL)

MJL will displays only journals that accepted for coverage in Thomson Reuters databases [5] (Figure 6). Derwent Innovation Index covers patent, so it was not included in MJL.

Figure 6 : Master Journal List

The reason Thomson Reuters is displaying "(Web of Science)" as in Figure 7 (red square) is because when a journal is accepted for coverage in the following citation indexes: SCI-E, SSCI, AHCI, Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), the publishers (e.g. Elsevier) consider them as WoS indexed journal [5]. 

Figure 7 : Journal Lists for Searchable Databases in MJL

Most of the institution or organization (including UM) a journal indexed in SCI-E, SSCI, AHCI or ESCI is good, when it is indexed in these databases [5]. Similarly, the authors who are submitting their article to a journal also wish to have their article published in the journal covered by these databases [5].

You can check which index category that the journal falls within WoS by browsing MJL. Please ENSURE that the journal is listed either in SCI-ESSCI , AHCI or ESCI.

BE AWARE of JOURNAL COVERAGE CHANGES in SCI-E and SSCI as some of the journals will be dropped from MJL eventhough the journal carried IF in JCR. For example, Problems of Atomic Science Science and Technology was dropped from MJL (see notice HERE) (Figure 8) but the still appear in JCR Edition 2014 with IF of 0.136 (Q4 in four categories: 1. NUCLEAR SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY, 2. PHYSICS, FLUIDS & PLASMA, 3. PHYSICS, NUCLEAR, 4. PHYSICS, PARTICLES &FIELDS) (Figure 9). 

Figure 9 : IF for Problems of Atomic Science Science and Technology was 0.136 (JCR Edition 2014)

Unfortunately, IF still being displayed in journal's homepage (Figure 10) which can cause confusion for the authors who want to submit their manuscript to this journal! 

Figure 10 : IF still being displayed in Problems of Atomic Science Science and Technology's hompage.

The newly added journal into SCI-E or SSCI will not carry IF as the journal will only received its first IF after THREE YEARS! [8]. For example, The Malaysian Journal of Pathology is newly added to MJL and indexed in SCI-E, see notice HERE (or please refer to Figure 11).

Figure 11 : The notice in SCI-E journal coverage changes on addition of The Malaysian Journal of Pathology 

Other example, LGBT Health is also newly added to MJL and indexed in SSCI, see notice HERE (or please refer to Figure 12).

Figure 12 : The notice in SSCI journal coverage changes on addition of LGBT Health journal

Click HERE on steps to find journal indexed in SCI-E and SSCI

2. Check the the article from that particular journal is listed in WoS. 

The link to WoS database only can be accessed if your university subscribe to Web Of Science  (log in to your library portal website, i.e. EZproxy: Universiti Malaya, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia). Example of EZproxy URL is shown in red box of Figure 13:

Figure 13 : Example of URL EZproxy 

Ensure that you choose Web of ScienceTM Core Collection tab (by choosing this tab you will exclude the conference proceedings in your searching) (Figure 14). 

Figure 14 : Choosing Web of Science Core Collection

Next, scroll down the page until you find "MORE SETTINGS" tab. Unchecked the last three boxes (Figure 15) 

Figure 15 : Settings option in Web Of Science Core Collection

3. Check for Impact Factor (IF) of the journal (if applicable) 

The link to JCR can be accessed via your respective university databases (please log in to your EZproxy account - depends on university subscription : Universiti MalayaUniversiti Sains MalaysiaUniversiti Kebangsaan MalaysiaUniversiti Putra MalaysiaUniversiti Teknologi Malaysia): Journal Citation Report (JCR)

BEWARE of notices (Figure 16) in Journal Citation Report (JCR) for title suppression (Figure 17) and journal coverage changes since some journals are newly added or dropped from Web Of Science.

Figure 16 : Notice in JCR

Figure 17 : Title Suppression in JCR

4. Check for genuinity of the journal

Ensure that the journal is NOT A HIJACKED JOURNAL by browsing this website

Also be AWARE of possible, potential, or probable scholarly open-access journals and publishers. For the list of BLACKLISTED PUBLISHERS BY MINISTRY OF HIGHER EDUCATION OF MALAYSIA see here.

If you are still have doubt on the status of a journal, do not hesitate to email Thomson Reuters representative. They are willing to help you.


Additional notes for Malaysian Students:

2. Blacklisted journals as listed by the Higher Education of Malaysia. (updated version see here)

3. Malaysian Journals listed in Thomson Reuters-Web of Science

4. Choosing the Right International Journal in TESOL and Applied Linguistics? Click HERE

Happy Publishing and I wish you a successful PhD endeavor... =)


[1] Drake, Miriam A. Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science. New York, N.Y.: Marcel Dekker, 2004.

[2] Jacso, Peter. The impact of Eugene Garfield through the prizm of Web of Science. Annals of Library and Information Studies, Vol. 57, September 2010, P. 222.

[3] Garfield, Eugene, Blaise Cronin, and Helen Barsky Atkins. The Web of Knowledge: A Festschrift in Honor of Eugene Garfield. Medford, N.J.: Information Today, 2000.

[4] Personal Communication (30.12.2015) between Mohammad Hafiz Bin Hamzah and Mr. Ganapriya Parthasarathy (Senior Custumer Support Representative, Customer Care - Asia Pacific, Thomson Reuters

[5] Personal communication (31.12.2015) between Mohammad Hafiz Bin Hamzah and Mr. Ganapriya Parthasarathy (Senior Custumer Support Representative, Customer Care - Asia Pacific, Thomson Reuters

[7] Universiti Malaya's Post Graduate Handbook 2013/2014 - Page 29 under no. 5 Publication Requirements

Prepared by,

MOHAMMAD HAFIZ BIN HAMZAH (updated 06.01.2016)

DISCLAIMER: All of the information provided by Mohammad Hafiz Bin Hamzah is correct by the time of publishing. All links provided are active by the time of publishing. Mohammad Hafiz Bin Hamzah will not responsible for any loss or damage caused by using the information in this website.