The Things You Should Know about Indexing

Authors in recent years have been more and more looking for indexed journals to publish their articles and prestigious journals are those that are covered by a number of abstracting and indexing services. In fact, the higher the number the more prestigious is considered the journal. But what is an “Index Journal”?  In the forthcoming paragraphs, we will explain the history of indexing and make it clear what is and what is not journal indexing.

Citation index (indexing) is an ordered list of cited articles (references), each accompanied by a list of citing articles (sources). A publisher is the provider of abstracting and indexing service. After the journal is indexed in a database, you can search its content using subject headings (keywords, author’s names, title, abstract, etc.,) in available database. Being represented in the relevant online abstracting and indexing service is a key factor for a journal to be successful. Since today search is done online, it is vital that a journal is represented in the relevant online search system. A citation index is a kind of bibliographic database, an index of citation between publications which allows the user to understand easily which later documents cite which earlier documents.

At present, the main citation indexing services are the followings:

  • SCI and SCI-expanded: Published by ISI a part of Thomson Reuters. SCI was originally produced by ISI and created by Eugene Garfield (1964).  Through SCI’s database, one can identify the publications of each scientists and how often the papers by that scientists are cited. The SCI’s electronic version is called “Web of Science”. SCI-expanded has indexes 8073 journals with citation references across 174 scientific disciplines in science edition.
  • Scopus: Scopus (Elsevier) is a bibliographic online database encompassing abstracts and citations for academic journal articles. It contains 21,000 titles from over 5000 publishers.
  • Indian citation Index (ICI): Being an online citation database, ICI is a web platform for periodically evaluating the performance of Indian research. ICI was launched in 2009 and covers over 800 journals published from India on science, medical, technical and social sciences.

Moreover, two freely available databases are Google Scholar and “CiteSeer”.

Index Medicaus/Medlars/Medline/Entrez and Pubmed

Index Medicos (IM), a comprehensive bibliographic index of scientific journal articles related to medical science published between 1879 and 2004 in print form, was started by John Show Billing, Head of Library of Surgeon General’s Office, which later evolved as the United States National Library of Medicine (NLM). NLM computerized indexing work and named it MEDLARS, a bibliographic database, which later turned to MEDLINE. They published the last issue of IM (Vol. 45) in December 2004 and the reason for stopping the printed publication was to replace it with online version.  The electronic presentations of MEDLINE’S contents also evolved, first with proprietary online services (accessed mostly at libraries) and later with CD-ROMS, then with Entrez and PubMed. PubMed is a free search engine with access to the Medline database. PubMed speeded the shift of online access to MEDLINE from something one did at the library to something one could do anywhere.


Embase is a database of Experta Medica (a print version), and it is a biomedical pharmacological database. Elsevier has established Embase and it contains more than 280 million records which are drugs related information.

Index Copernicus

Index Copernicus (IC) has been established in 1999 in Poland and is an online database named after Nicolaus Copernicus and operated by IC international. Users contribute in IC by providing various information such as scientific profile, scientific institution, publication and projects.

PubMed Central

PubMed Central is a free digital database and archives full-text articles that are publicly accessible. 1600 journals send their articles automatically to PubMed Central.

Four major online bibliographic database includes MEDLINE, PubMed Central, ISI, and Scopus. Inclusion in each has some advantages. Inclusion in MEDLINE bestows quality on a publication. PubMed Central makes open access contents more accessible and ISI offers an official impact factor.  Inclusion in Scopus provides a clear view of Journal metrics, H-Index and citation impact.

There are some nonabstracting and indexing databases that many publishers claim to be indexed in Scribed Cabelles Directories, open J-Gate, slide share Google Docs, and New journal.

Medical Council of India considers the following as indexing agencies: Scopus, PubMed, MEDLINE, Embase/Excerpta Medica, Index Medicaus, and IC.

Finally, citation indexing services include SCI and SCI expanded. The rest are search engines or bibliographic online base. Some bibliographic sites include MEDLINE (most prestigious and its data are searchable by PubMed), ISI, Scopus and Indian citation index.

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