Journal Citation Reports 2022: COVID-19 research continues to increase citation impact

Today we are releasing the 2022 update to the annual Journal Citation Reports (JCR)™. This year’s publication demonstrates the enormous impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on scholarly publishing. We also identify and define a new kind of anomalous quoting behavior: self-stacking.

The JCR’s annual publication enables the research community to assess the world’s high-quality academic journals using a range of indicators, descriptive data and visualizations. The reports are widely used by academic publishers around the world to understand the scientific impact of their journals in relation to their field and to promote them to the research community.

This year’s JCR publication is based on 2021 data compiled from the Web of Science Core Collection™, the leading collection of quality journals, books and conference proceedings in the largest citation database worldwide independent of publishers. Publications are assessed by a global team of in-house editors at Clarivate™ using rigorous selection criteria. Data from the selected content is then carefully curated to ensure accurate JCR metrics, as well as a wide range of descriptive data. This information allows researchers, editors, publishers, librarians, and funders to explore the key drivers of a journal’s value to various audiences.

COVID-19 continues to impact all aspects of scholarly publishing, just as it has affected all aspects of society

Through the carefully selected and curated data in the Journal Citation Reports, we can fully appreciate and understand the enormous impact of the academic community’s rapid response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As researchers explored the origins, spread and ramifications of the virus, working quickly to create new therapies and vaccines, this is reflected in the reliable information contained in the annual JCR. The effects of this pandemic will continue to be seen in the literature and the impact of quotes for decades to come, particularly from the perspective of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3 on health and well-being. be. We are proud to support the research community and the UN SDGs with carefully curated data that informs decisions and helps them accelerate the pace of innovation.

This year’s publication sees continued notable increases in citation impact for journals in the fields of general medicine, critical care, public health, infectious diseases, immunology and basic biomedical sciences

  • This year The Lancet‘s Journal Impact Factor™ (JIF) of 202,731 moved it to the #1 position in the General & Internal Medicine category, surpassing the New England Journal of Medicine, which has been the highest ranked title in this category since the JCR was first released 45 years ago. Of the 10 articles with the highest number of citations in 2021, three appeared in The Lancet. All three are directly related to the characterization and treatment of COVID-19.
  • This year Nature earns the distinction of being the first journal to accumulate more than one million total citations in one year. Nature published 16 papers with over 500 JIF citations – of which 12 papers were related to COVID-19.
  • Seven journals had first-time JIFs of more than 100, all of which published large amounts of research related to COVID-19. here are the Journal of the American Medical Association, The Lancet, Lancet Respiratory Medicine, Nature Reviews Drug Discovery, Nature Reviews Immunology, Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology and the New England Journal of Medicine.

We recently provided a comparison of the JIF on each year-over-year interval from 2010 to 2021. You can see it here.

Maintaining research integrity and a new type of citation distortion

To support objectivity in review selection and reporting integrity, we removed three reviews from the JCR (without presumption or accusation of wrongdoing), representing 0.01% of reviews listed. We remove the JIF from journals that exhibit abnormal citation behavior, including where there is evidence of excessive journal self-citation and/or citation stacking. The methodology and parameters for the effect of journal self-citation on JCR metrics were updated in 2020 to better reflect discipline standards. Deletion of a journal from the JCR does not equate to delisting from the Web of Science Core Collection, although deleted journals may be subject to editorial re-evaluation and will be removed from coverage if they fail.

Additionally, this year, Clarivate’s editorial integrity team identified a new type of anomalous citation behavior: self-stacking. This is where the journal contains one or more papers whose citations are heavily focused on the JIF numerator of the title itself. This is the first year that we have formally defined the criteria for removing auto-stacking, and as such we have made the decision to issue a six-review warning rather than remove the JIF from review . Going forward, continued log auto-stacking will cause the JIF to be removed.

Clarivate continuously reviews the content with the aim of developing additional filtering of JIF distortions.

Key facts from 2021 data:

  • The Journal Citation Reports contains more than 21,000 journals, from 254 search categories and 114 countries. This includes:
    • 12,800 scientific journals
    • 6,600 social science journals
    • 3,000 Arts and Humanities journals
  • Nearly 13,000 journals have at least one open access golden publication
  • More than 5,300 journals publish all of their content in open access
  • 192 journals received a Journal Impact Factor for the first time

Each review profile in the JCR provides a rich set of review intelligence metrics and allows users to filter by category and rating. These include:

  • The Journal Citation Indicator, which represents the average normalized citation impact by category for articles published in the previous three-year period. All JCR journals are eligible to receive this metric from 2021;
  • The immediacy index, which measures the frequency with which the content of the journal is cited during the same year of publication;
  • The ranking of the journal in the category, determined by Journal Impact Factor, expressed as a percentile;
    The cited half-life, which is the median age, in years, of journal articles that were cited in the JCR year; and
  • The journal’s impact factor, which scales citations received to recent content based on the size of the journal’s scientific output.
  • Additionally, Journal Citation Reports include descriptive data such as open access content, top contributing institutions and regions.

Visit the Journal Citation Reports website to explore all available data, metrics and analysis. Want to know how Journal Citation Reports can inform your publishing strategy? Learn more here.

You can find more information, including our deletion policy, in the Journal Citation Reports Reference Guide.

Kevin A. Perras