ISI, Scopus, or PubMed: How to Select the Best Journal Based on Its Indexing?

As science becomes increasingly collaborative and inter-disciplinary, researchers have to ensure that critical research is tapped in time! Researchers who want to publish their studies try to find a journal that is indexed by prominent and leading databases. Indexing is crucial for the credibility, outreach, and reputation of the journal which has a significant influence on the journal articles.

What is the Importance of Indexing?

Indexes refer to the standards and certifications that journals can achieve by adherence to specific guidelines. For instance, to be indexed in Clarivate Analytics, a journal must follow its rules and regulations. Journal indexing contributes to the maintenance of publication ethics and increases the validity, visibility, and readership of a research paper.

Indexation in distinguished databases hosted by prominent organizations, like Google Scholar, Clarivate Analytics, Elsevier, PubMed, and EBSCO can increase the outreach and influence of your paper. According to a recent report, academic indexes, such as the Directory of Open Access Journals, MathSciNet, and Google Scholar, are the top sites that researchers to start their research. Moreover, researchers favor submitting their papers to popular and reliable multidisciplinary databases.

Here in this article, we will look at the three popular indexing databases: Web of Science, Scopus, and PubMed.

Web of Science: ISI Indexing

Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) was started in 1960. After its acquisition by Thomson Reuters and merger into Clarivate Analytics, it is now called ‘Web of Science’ (WOS). It includes a collection of high-quality journals conference proceedings and books that are selected for inclusion based on a distinctive curation process. For every paper, WOS requires the author affiliations, abstract and keywords, funding particulars (agency and grant number), and all the cited references.

Its exclusive organization name unification feature can be used to find out the complete research profile of an academic or institution. Also, the inclusion of funding acknowledgment makes it possible to know who has funded the most influential and impactful research projects. Besides, it provides citation reports that include information about the publications and citations per year, total times and average times of citation of an article. This allows an effective comparison of citation impact.


Scopus is the largest abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed research articles. It was introduced in 2004 by Elsevier. It is much younger than WOS and has consistent records since 1996. Many researchers consider it a high-quality source for contemporary data analyses since it includes almost all the science journals covered by WOS. Besides, it has a more comprehensive subject area and geography coverage. Moreover, Scopus offers altmetrics data which sets it apart from other databases.


PubMed was developed and curated by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). It is a searchable database that includes citations and abstracts. It is also free and researchers can use it as a resource if they want to publish an article on medicine and allied life sciences. Also, it allows access to citations, abstracts, and full text of the articles in the fields of medicine, nursing, dentistry, preclinical, clinical, and healthcare systems. Articles that are published in PubMed-indexed journals have better outreach and visibility.

How Can Different Indexing Databases Be Compared?

Academic journal articles can create an impact only if they are discoverable. If they are not properly indexed, it will be difficult to locate them. Recently, various new indexation services have been developed, such as DOAJ, Hinari, Open L Gate, SCOLOAR, SIIC databases, and Ulrich’s International Periodical Directory.

How can we know if these new indexing services are trustworthy?

How is it possible to find out if your target journal is hosted by a credible indexing database?
An ideal indexing database should preferably cover all scientific disciplines, such as various forms of publications (e.g., peer-reviewed articles, scientific reports, and conference papers). In addition, such a database should provide the researchers with the most relevant data.

Other criteria that one needs to assess before choosing an indexing database include its coverage, language preference, criteria to collect citations, algorithms used to calculate impact factors, and the online presence of publications. Besides, researchers generally prefer indexing databases that provide advanced search which includes field specifics, timeline options, and keyword search. This increases the chance of visibility of the indexed journal and, in turn, the research paper.

How to Search for a Journal Indexed in These Databases

Most journals prefer indexation in one of the prominent databases. But, some of them consider indexation in several databases for higher visibility. However, each journal has a special ‘indexing’ feature that allows the user to search all the journals indexed by a database. This is accessible from a ‘Master Journal list’ or the ‘Search’ option.

For example, researchers can use Clarivate Master Journal List to find out if their target journal is indexed in the ISI journal list by searching the name of the journal or its ISSN. Regarding its multidisciplinary nature, WOS indexing covers a wide range of disciplines, such as sciences, social sciences, and arts and humanities. The different indexes provided by WOS include: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCIE), Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI), Conference Proceedings Citation Index (CPCI), Current Chemical Reactions and Index Chemicus, Book Citation Index (BCI), Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), and Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI).

Similarly, it is possible to determine if your target journal is listed in the Scopus database by using their search page or the SCImago journal search engine that is powered by Scopus. Users can search the database based on the journal title, publisher, or the ISSN number of the journal. Likewise, to see if your target journal is indexed in PubMed, you can use the journals in the NCBI database to search for the journal title or ISSN.

Have you used any indexing databases to find your target journal? Which one of the indexing databases do you prefer? We will be happy to see your answers in the comments section!

Was this post helpful?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to toolbar