2024 Journal Citation Reports: Changes in Journal Impact Factor category rankings to enhance transparency and inclusivity

New – unified rankings for each of our 229 science and social science categories; no Journal Impact Factor (JIF)™ rankings for the arts and humanities categories


The scholarly landscape is witnessing a significant increase in both the quantity and sophistication of fraudulent behaviors, posing a substantial threat to the integrity of the scholarly record.  At Clarivate™, we have an unwavering commitment to safeguard the integrity of the scholarly record and recognize a pressing need for indicators of trustworthiness at the journal level.

Over the past few years, we have implemented a series of policy changes for the Journal Citation Reports (JCR)™ aimed at aligning coverage between the Web of Science Core Collection™ and the JCR, providing more transparency of the data underlying JCR metrics encouraging a more inclusive, more holistic way of comparing journals.

Recent changes to the JCR have included the addition of profile pages for journals indexed in the Arts & Humanities Citation Index (AHCI)™ and Emerging Sources Citation Index (EHCI)™ and the introduction of the Journal Citation Indicator (JCI) in 2021. The JCI is field-normalized to facilitate the comparison of journals across different disciplines, including the arts and humanities. We also extended the Journal Impact Factor (JIF)™ to AHCI and ESCI journals in 2023 so that it now encompasses all quality journals in the Web of Science Core Collection.

This inclusive approach resulted in more than 9,000 journals from more than 3,000 publishers benefiting from more data, additional data visualizations and greater transparency added to their JCR profiles. This set of journals includes recently launched journals, open access journals, those with a niche or regionally focused scope, and journals from the Global South.

In making these changes, we have evolved the JIF from an indicator of scholarly impact (the numerical value of the JIF) in the sciences and social sciences to an indicator of both scholarly impact and trustworthiness (having a JIF – regardless of the number) across all disciplines at the journal level.

In 2023, we also changed the way the JIF is displayed – transitioning from three decimal places to one. This is important as it created more ties in JIF rankings to encourage consideration of additional indicators and descriptive factors alongside the JIF when comparing journals.

Our commitment to enhancing transparency and trust continues in the forthcoming JCR release in June 2024. Two notable changes, which we announced last year, will be implemented in the JIF category rankings.


We will move from edition-specific category JIF rankings to unified rankings for each of our 229 science and social science categories.

We will no longer provide separate JIF rankings for the nine subject categories that are indexed in multiple editions. For example, the Psychiatry category is included in both Science Citation Index – Expanded (SCIE)™ and Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI)™ and we currently publish a separate Psychiatry ranking for each edition. We will replace these separate rankings with a single, unified ranking.

Additionally, the new unified rankings will include journals indexed in ESCI. Using Psychiatry once again as our example – we will display a single Psychiatry ranking that includes journals indexed in SCIE, SSCI and ESCI.


The creation of combined category rankings will provide a simpler and more complete category view for the evaluation of journal performance.

Typically, ESCI journals have lower JIFs than SCIE, SSCI or AHCI journals in the same category. This is because entry into SCIE, SSCI and AHCI requires an additional step; a journal needs to pass our four impact criteria – designed to select journals with the highest scholarly impact – in addition to the 24 quality criteria that select for editorial rigor and best publishing practice.

However, we know there are some ESCI journals with a higher JIF than SCIE, SSCI or AHCI journals in the same category. There are a couple of reasons for this. Firstly, the differentiator between ESCI and SCIE/SSCI/AHCI isn’t just a journal’s JIF at a given moment in time – it is dependent on whether a journal passes our four impact criteria. Secondly, we have paused impact evaluations since 2022 to focus our efforts on quality evaluations of submitted and indexed journals.

This was an informed and deliberate decision driven by the increased effort needed to keep Web of Science free of compromised content and supported by the fact that ESCI journals now also have a JIF and from June will be included in the existing science and social science JIF category rankings.


We will not introduce JIF rankings for the arts and humanities categories

It was our intention to also introduce rankings for the 25 unique arts and humanities-specific categories this year. However, we have re-evaluated this decision following extensive data analysis and consultations with the scholarly community.

There is considerable variance in average citation speed and volume between disciplines. In general, citations in the arts and humanities are far lower and slower than citations in the sciences or social sciences.

In-depth modeling of JCR data revealed that introducing JIF rankings for the arts and humanities categories would create multiple, very large ties in rank. This in turn would create very skewed quartile distributions, including instances where certain quartiles would be entirely absent from a category.

We shared our findings with a variety of stakeholders from across the scholarly community and found consensus that the introduction of JIF rankings for our 25 unique arts and humanities-specific categories would be difficult to interpret and of questionable value. The most appropriate way to compare and rank journals in the arts and humanities categories is through the JCI and JCI rankings introduced in 2021.

We remain deeply committed to providing trustworthy data and responsible metrics and therefore have made the decision not to introduce JIF rankings for the arts and humanities categories in this year’s JCR release.

This is the first in a series of updates on the 2024 JCR. Bookmark this page and stay tuned for further updates.

Listen to Dr. Nandita Quaderi’s interview on the CCC’s Velocity of Content podcast to hear more details about these changes to the 2024 Journal Citation Reports.






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