The New 2021 Journal Citation Reports

A new version of Journal Citation Reports (JCR) was recently released and includes a brand-new interface, updated Journal Impact Factors (JIF), and other additional content. JCR is a resource that contains different research metrics for journals indexed in the Web of Science, which can be used for evaluating and comparing a journal’s impact.

Search Journal Citation Reports from the homepage
The updated interface of JCR includes a search by journal name, ISSN, eISSN, category, or keyword.

One noteworthy addition to JCR is a new metric called the Journal Citation Indicator (JCI). Unlike the JIF, the JCI is field-normalized and takes into account the differences of citation patterns across all subjects. For example, you can now use the JCI to compare a genetics journal alongside a physics journal, whereas the JIF should still only be used to compare journals within the same subject area. The JCI is also easy to interpret: the baseline impact for all journals is 1. If the JCI for a journal is 2, that journal would be twice as impactful compared to all other journals. A score of below 1 would indicate that the journal is less impactful than other journals.

Also new to JCR are journals from the Arts & Humanities Citation Index and the Emerging Sources Citation Index. Early access content, or articles that are published online ahead of print, will now be included within some of the journal metrics included in JCR. Some of these additional journal metrics include the immediacy index, citation distribution, and data on a journal’s open access articles.

It’s important to keep in mind, however, that these metrics are only one part of the process when selecting and evaluating journals. There is also debate on whether we should rely on journal metrics for academic assessment at all, as they do not properly assess individual articles or the varied achievements and impact of authors.

If you’re interested in learning more about the new JCR and how to evaluate the impact of a journal, there are many resources available to get started. See the JCR learning guide from Clarivate Analytics, the HSLS guide for measuring research impact, or reach out to Stephen Gabrielson to schedule a consultation to discuss your project.

~Stephen Gabrielson