Evaluation methodology


Based on more than 20 years of experience in the evaluation of scientific journals, the Index Copernicus International Team developed the ICI Publishing Stars model. It allows for calculating the performance of Editorial offices in functional areas which transfer to the increase in the distribution indices and citation rates. Evaluation result in ICI Journals Master List database - Index Copernicus Value (ICV) index is, therefore, a measure of scientific journal impact. It indicates how fast a journal may achieved its goals.

The ICI Journals Master List evaluation criteria

The evaluation in the ICI Journals Master List database consists of two components:

1. QUALITY OF THE JOURNAL – measured based on fulfilling the criteria of the ICI Publishing Stars model, which is currently focused around two aspects of journal working, namely its digitalisation and internalisation. It consists of the following elements:

• Standards – adjusting presentation of a material published in a journal to international requirements is approved as an editorial standard. These are for example such elements as: clear and aesthetic layout of articles and the whole journal, publication of the review procedure or contribution of the reviewers with outside affiliation that are a foundation crucial for journal sustainable development. In this area, Editorial offices are primarily asked about reviewing model that is adopted by a journal or requirement of various authors’ statements aimed at verification of respecting publishing ethic
• Stability – frequency and regularity of a journal on the market lead to editorial-management efficiency evaluation of an editorial team. Regularity in the subsequent journal issues publishing is an important element of evaluation in prestigious international databases.
• Digitalisation – availability of an online journal is a great medium to its promotion. Readiness for integration with databases and ease of access to the published content are the criteria, non-compliance of which may form a barrier that prevent the journal from development, but fulfillment of those criteria is an impulse for development and reaching out scientists’ home and abroad. In “Digitalisation” area, Editorial offices communicate, for example information on periodical indexation in scientific databases, assign DOI numbers to scientific articles or publish them in the “ahead of print” mode. Since 2017, Index Copernicus Team has introduced additional criterion, namely information about the content of particular issues – metadata of scientific articles and attachment bibliography for the period of at least 4 years preceding the year when the questionnaire was submitted.
• Internalisation – number of language versions of both journal website, and journal content, contribution of the authors and reviewers with outside affiliation influence development of international cooperation, increase its reach, visibility, and impact of the scientific journal.

2. IMPACT – is determined by the analysis of citation trends of journals indexed in ISI Web of Science and Scopus databases. This reflects intensity with which a journal has been recognised in the scientific world.

In each area the criteria for increasing the chance of boosting citation index values were indicated. For every criterion, one can identify actions that should be taken by Editorial offices to ensure increase in quality of their journal and its impact.

The scoring method

In the final parametric assessment in the ICI Journals Master List database, it is assumed that the sum of points awarded for the entire “Journal quality” criterion cannot exceed 100 points. A journal can also receive negative points (e.g. for delays in publishing or publishing combined issues) – maximum 4 points. It indicates problems in the editorial-management activity of editorial team.

 A journal can acquire more than 100 ICV points due to “Impact” criterion if it is currently indexed in ISI Web of Science or/and Scopus database. It consists of the following elements:

• Journal citation rate – calculated based on current IF and SJR indices,
• Dynamics of the citation rates – enumerated based on changes of IF and SJR indices values and the number of citations identified by Journal Citation Reports and Scimago Journal & Country Rank databases.

Data verification

Index Copernicus International thanks to annual evaluations solicit and process detailed information on scientific journals from all around the world. After sending completed evaluation questionnaire by Editorial office, provided information is then verified in three steps. The first step has a systemic character – a specially prepared algorithm is aimed at indicating which provided information may turn out to be false. The second step consist in verification of information that may be wrong. Data provided in the current questionnaire are compared to date from previous years. The last step is manual data verification, that is checking whether they are in compliance with actual journal functioning. At this step, for instance, the following elements are verified:

• assigning DOI numbers to publications,
• using electronic publishing and editing system,
• keeping statistics of downloading articles from the journal website,
• indexation in databases,
• publishing publications in the “ahead of print” mode.

Providing nonsolid or false information leads to refusal of journal indexation in the ICI Journals Master List database for a given year. Journals which do not meet evaluation standards, do not have enumerated current ICV index will remain rightful owners of the passport in the ICI World of Journals database. Editorial offices are able to regularly update the data about the journal, enter published articles or submit for evaluation in the following year.

Transparency of Editorial office activities

In 2017 the Index Copernicus Team decided to replace foregoing expert assessment with Editorial office activities transparence and clarity indices. Journal websites transparency and completeness of information on published articles provided in Journal Passports are additionally assessed. This move was made due to two reasons.

1. Program for calculating citations
Index Copernicus is one of the few entities in the world that identifies connections between object and ipso facto automatically calculates citations of journals registered in ICI databases. On the basis of attachment bibliography provided by registered journals, citations for years 2010-2017 were identified. Subsequent data are constantly updated. Currently, development works of improving tools are underway and citations rates have not been included in the ICI Journals Master List evaluation methodology yet (learn more about the citation calculating project).

2. Policy for counteracting "Predatory journals” practices

From 2017 Index Copernicus implemented to the evaluation methodology in ICI Journals Master List database a policy for counteracting "Predatory journals” practices Identification of periodicals that apply above mentioned practice is currently one of the biggest challenges for the world of science.

The ruling principle against “Predatory journals” practices is the rule of Editorial office activities transparency that consists in providing in the ICI World of Journals database full information on content of particular issues published between 2016 and 2017, at least in the form of:

• metadata of articles (i.e. titles and abstract in English, keywords, authors along with affiliations),
• list of attachment bibliography. (learn more about policy for counteracting "Predatory journals” practices).

Completed process of evaluation in the ICI Journals Master List database, guarantee of practice transparency and verification of a journal by scientific community increase knowledge of registered periodicals.