Institute for Scientific Information

For the Soviet Institute with the same name, see VINITI.

The Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) was founded by Eugene Garfield in 1960. It was acquired by Thomson Scientific & Healthcare in 1992,[1] and became known as Thomson ISI. It is now a part of the Intellectual Property & Science business of Thomson Reuters.

ISI offered bibliographic database services. Its specialty: citation indexing and analysis, a field pioneered by Garfield. It maintains citation databases covering thousands of academic journals, including a continuation of its longtime print-based indexing service the Science Citation Index (SCI), as well as the Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), and the Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI). All of these are available via ISI's Web of Knowledge database service. This database allows a researcher to identify which articles have been cited most frequently, and who has cited them. The database provides some measure of the academic impact of the papers indexed in it, and may increase their impact by making them more visible and providing them with a quality label. Some anecdotal evidence suggests that appearing in this database can double the number of citations received by a given paper.[2]

The ISI also publishes the annual Journal Citation Reports which list an impact factor for each of the journals that it tracks. Within the scientific community, journal impact factors play a large but controversial role in determining the kudos attached to a scientist's published research record.

A list of over 14,000 journals is maintained by the ISI. The list includes some 1100 arts and humanities journals as well as scientific journals. Listing is based on published selection criteria and is an indicator of journal quality and impact.[3]

ISI publishes Science Watch, a newsletter which identifies every two months one paper published in the previous two years as a "fast breaking paper" in each of 22 broad fields of science, such as Mathematics (including Statistics), Engineering, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. The designations are based on the number of citations and the largest increase from one bimonthly update to the next. Articles about the papers often include comments by the authors.

The ISI also publishes a list of "ISI highly cited researchers", one of the factors included in the Academic Ranking of World Universities published by Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

Recently, some people have argued the credibility of ISI assessment. They believe the ISI organization does not act based on the rules and criteria offered on their website.[4]

ISI Highly Cited

"ISI Highly Cited" is a database of "highly cited researchers"—scientific researchers whose publications are most often cited in academic journals over the past decade, published by the Institute for Scientific Information. Inclusion in this list is taken as a measure of the esteem of these academics and is used, for example, by the Academic Ranking of World Universities.

The methodology for inclusion is to consider papers in the upper first percentile based on citation counts[5] of all articles indexed in the Scientific Citation Databases and published in a single, fixed year. Papers in the upper first percentile with respect of their year of publication are called highly cited papers. Each paper in the data is assigned to one or more of 21 categories, based on the ISI classification of the journal in which the article was published. The Highly Cited Researchers list is compiled by selecting, in every field, those researchers with the highest number of highly cited papers in a 10-year, rolling time period. The number of highly cited researchers varies from field to field and is determined accordingly to the total number of researchers contributing to the single field.

The categories are as follows:

  • Agricultural Sciences
  • Biology & Biochemistry
  • Chemistry
  • Clinical Medicine
  • Computer Science
  • Ecology/Environment
  • Economics/Business
  • Engineering
  • Geosciences
  • Immunology
  • Materials Science
  • Mathematics
  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology & Genetics
  • Neuroscience
  • Pharmacology
  • Physics
  • Plant & Animal Science
  • Psychology/Psychiatry
  • Social Sciences - General
  • Space Sciences

The publication list and biographical details supplied by the researchers are freely available online, although general access to the ISI citation database is by subscription.


  1. "Thomson Corporation acquired ISI". Online. July 1992. Retrieved 2012-02-26.
  2. Diego Varela (2013) 'The contribution of ISI indexing to a paper's citations: results of a natural experiment', European Political Science 12(2): 245-253; published online 5 October 2012; doi: 10.1057/eps.2012.29.
  3. "Master Journal List". Thomson Scientific. Retrieved 2007-02-18.
  4. "Scholarlyoa". Jeffrey Beall. Retrieved 2016-07-06.
  5. Welcome to Highly Cited Researchers, retrieved July 6, 2014

External links

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