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In two cases recently, my co-authors are considering/decided to submit joint work to some young journals which I think are a good match. However those journals happen to be only indexed in the Emerging Sources Citation Index and thus not having an impact factor. Unfortunately, my academic employer cares literally only about impact factors (sad, I know). I would like to make a rough guess how likely are those journals to get an impact factor in the near future and conversely, how likely is supporting those journals by sending them our work to be an issue career-wise. My results are currently not stellar metric-wise, so those publications could plausibly really make a (small-ish) difference at some point.

Did someone publish data on how long journals spend in ESCI and how much citations/publications/... they need to gather before "moving up"? I understand this will be field-specific, but really I just want to be able to make a rough guess...

The journals in question are:

  1. Research Integrity and Peer Review (by BMC),
    • in ESCI since 2018
    • 48 publications in ESCI total
    • 130 citations (without self) according to Clarivate, including 4 citations from Nature
  2. Statistics surveys (this one is non-profit, open access without publication fees and I really like it!)
    • in ESCI since 2015
    • 22 publications in ESCI total
    • 112 citations (without self), also including a bunch of reputable journals.
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No hard and fast rules here but the answer is about a few years.

The publisher is the only one who can make the application (see this page, "Submitting your journal for evaluation"). Of course they are heavily incentivized to do so, but they will only do so if there's a reasonable chance of success, since failure means they can't submit for evaluation again for at least two years. So that's the approximate time frame: about a few years, depending on whether the publisher judges they have a chance of success and when they apply.

  • Just to understand this better: the "few years" is based on your personal experience? Or on something else? Would you go as far as saying that the two journals I posted are "ripe for inclusion"? Thanks! – Martin Modrák Oct 9 '20 at 13:57
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    @MartinModrák it's based on how there's an embargo period of 2 years if the evaluation fails. I have not personally handled a journal that made the jump from ESCI to SCI. As for whether these two journals are ripe for inclusion, I can't rightly say without knowing what exactly the citations are. For example you write that the 2nd journal has "112 citations (without self)". How many of these citations are by SCI journals? – Allure Oct 9 '20 at 20:00

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