What is the difference between ESCI and SCIE?
The Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI) and the Science Citation Index Expanded (SCIE) are both journal indexes. This means that they are databases of academic journals that list important and useful information about a curated collection of journals. Both of these indexes are published and maintained by Clarivate Analytics as part of the Web of Science citation index. The Web of Science also publishes the Science Citation Index (SCI), which is an earlier and less comprehensive version of the SCIE, in addition to the Social Science Citation Index and the Arts and Humanities Citation Index. Most basic science and clinical researchers are likely to encounter only the ESCI and the SCIE (or SCI) in their normal work, as these two indexes list journals related specifically to these fields.
Purpose of ESCI and SCIE
The role of the ESCI and the SCIE is to provide researchers with the confidence that the journals they are submitting to and/or reading papers from adhere to certain publication standards having to do with editorial rigour and best practice. Choosing a journal from one of these indexes can help reassure you that the journal is not predatory or otherwise ethically suspect, although it is not a guarantee that this is the case.
So what’s the difference between the ESCI and the SCIE? According to Clarivate, 28 different criteria are used to evaluate journals and decide whether they will be included in the ESCI or the SCIE. Overall, 24 of these criteria relate to quality, while the remaining four relate to impact. Journals that meet the quality criteria are included in the ESCI, whereas journals that meet both the quality criteria and the impact criteria are listed in the SCIE.
The quality criteria that a journal must fulfil to be listed in the ESCI journal index are as follows:
• ISSN – the journal must have an International Standard Serial Number, which is a unique serial number used to identify a serial publication
• Title – the journal’s title must be appropriate and match the ISSN
• Publisher – the publisher’s name must be clearly stated
• URL – a web address must be available for online journals
• Content access – the Web of Science team must be able to access all the journal’s content to carry out its evaluation
• Peer review policy – an article published in the journal must be subjected to peer review, and the peer-review policy should be clearly stated by the journal
• Contact details – the Web of Science team must be able to communicate with the journal’s editorial and production teams
• Scholarly content – the journal should clearly publish professional articles
• English titles and abstracts – these parts of published manuscripts should be available in English
• Citations written in Roman script – reference information needs to be provided in Roman letters for ease of indexing and comprehension
• Clarity of language – all English-language content needs to be understandable
• Publication timeliness/volume – the publication frequency should be defined clearly
• Functional website – the journal’s website should be accurate and easy to navigate
• Ethics statement – ethical requirements for authors and published papers should be clearly stated
• Editorial affiliation details – all editorial board members must be identifiable and contactable
• Author affiliation details – all authors must be clearly and correctly identified
• Editorial board composition – the editorial board should be appropriate to the journal’s content
• Statement validity – the content published by the journal should adhere to their stated policies
• Peer review – the journal content should clearly reflect an effective peer-review process
• Content relevance – the published content should be consistent with the journal’s title and scope
• Grant support details – the funding sources should be clearly acknowledged
• Community standards – the editorial policies should be consistent with research integrity best practices
• Author distribution – the author information should reflect the journal’s scope
• Literature citation – the published articles should cite the existing publications in an appropriate manner
The impact criteria that a journal must fulfil in addition to the aforementioned quality criteria in order to be listed in the SCIE journal index are as follows:
• Comparative citation analysis – this criterion pertains to how many citations that articles published in the journal receive and from which other journals
• Author citation analysis – the authors’ publication history should be consistent with the journal category and scope
• Editorial board member citation analysis – the editorial board members’ publication history should be consistent with the journal category and scope
• Content significance – the journal content should be considered interesting, important, and valuable
These criteria are evaluated in order, and any journals that do not meet the first few quality criteria do not go on to further rounds of evaluation. However, those journals that do pass the first few rounds then go on to be evaluated for impact and may potentially be included in the SCIE. This means that the SCIE is generally considered to contain higher-quality, higher-impact journals.
Regular evaluations and updates
The journals listed in these two indexes are routinely re-evaluated, and the indexes themselves are updated as the status of a specific journal changes. For example, if a journal listed in the ESCI increases in impact, it has the potential to be moved to the SCIE, whereas if a high-quality, high-impact journal listed in the SCIE decreases in impact, it can be moved to the ESCI. This type of re-evaluation occurs regularly as part of Web of Science’s normal procedures, and can also be prompted by concerns raised by researchers or by Web of Science’s in-house editors. Importantly, journals listed in the ESCI do not receive impact factors, which may be a point of concern for some authors.
When considering whether to publish in a journal indexed in the ESCI or the SCIE, it’s a good idea to check whether your department or institution has any requirements regarding where your papers are published. Some may require publishing in a journal with a specific impact factor, or indeed any impact factor, while some may specify which index the journal should be listed in to be considered as part of your job performance evaluation or other administrative concerns.
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