I am having a hard time figuring out the difference between excellent,good,average and bad journals.

I checked this link http://mjl.clarivate.com/ from where I figured out about ESCI,SCI,SCIE journals in my field of Mathematics.

I read ESCI Journals vs SCI/SCIE Journals and What is the difference between SCI and SCIE?.

But still cant figure out how does a journal categorise as being excellent,good,average and bad journals.

Can we make some sort of algorithms which helps us to answer this question?

Is there any relation between them like ESCI is less than SCIE and SCIE is less than SCI?

Are all SCIE indexed journals of higher value than any ESCI journals?

I have noticed that there are many ESCI journals which have many leading mathematicians as their Editor-In-Chief and many SCIE journals whose editor in chiefs are not so well known. Will still a SCIE indexed journal score more than a ESCI?

Kindly shed some light.

  • 1
    The journal does not categorize itself, the users do that...
    – Solar Mike
    Apr 7, 2019 at 4:26

2 Answers 2


This is what Clarivate Analytics says, "The Science Citation Index (SCI) is a highly selective subset of journals found in the Science Citation Index Expanded. Journals in SCI are typically the most consistently high impact titles in many scientific disciplines."

"Emerging Sources Citation Index provides Web of Science Core Collection users with expanded options to discover new areas of research in evolving disciplines, as well as relevant interdisciplinary scholarly content across rapidly changing research fields... These titles are also being evaluated on a continual basis for inclusion in the SCIE, SSCI, and AHCI."

(http://mjl.clarivate.com/#journal_lists and http://info.clarivate.com/ESCI)

From these excerpts, it seems that with respect to the way they measure impact, Clarivate would probably put SCI journals at the top, SCIE journals that are not also in SCI in the middle, and ESCI journals in third place, although they don't say this directly. My own view based on my field (law) is that some of the journals in the ESCI are much more well-regarded (and more impactful) than some in the SSCI, so I would caution against using these indices as your sole criteria to determine quality. Nothing replaces reading the journals and asking your colleagues and experts in your field about them.


The journal doesn't decide to call itself "good", "excellent", etc. This is done by a third party - in this case Clarivate Analytics.

The general idea is that they have a list of the most notable journals, which they group into the SCI. From this initial list, to get into the SCI, a journal needs to publish articles that are cited by journals that are already in the SCI. Naturally some journals will have more such citations, and some fewer. Clarivate Analytics can then impose a cutoff whereby if a journal is above that cutoff, it becomes included in the SCI; otherwise, if it is above a second cutoff, it is included in the SCIE, and below the second cutoff it's not included anywhere.

The same idea can be used to create the ESCI (which is even lower-ranked than SCIE).

  • @Learnmore "better" is subjective and I won't comment. I will say though that Clarivate Analytics does think SCIE journals are better than ESCI journals. As for editorial board members, if they matter, they matter very little.
    – Allure
    Apr 7, 2019 at 5:22

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