Scopus Journal FAQs: Helping to improve the submission & success process for Editors & Publishers
Being indexed in Scopus is a major attainment for journals worldwide and achieving this success brings with it not only a measure of satisfaction but also assurance of the quality of your journal to other members of the scientific community.
Through interaction and discussion with journal editors, journal administration managers and publishers, we realized that it would be helpful if a set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) was made available for journal editors seeking to be indexed in Scopus.
To that end, to help improve the success of your submission to Scopus we have collated a number of FAQs for all stages of the Scopus submission process. Additionally, we conduct journal editors’ workshop together with the Subject Chairs from our Scopus Content Selection & Advisory Board (CSAB) across many regions of the world. For more information about Scopus and the CSAB, its scope and function, please click here.
The FAQs range from wanting to know what is expected of a journal title to detailed information about the journal aims and scope or policy. These FAQs also include those related to the Role of the Editor, which many new journal editors have requested to help them in their role. For more information on the ‘Role of an Editor’, please click here.
Please use the FAQs below as a guide and reference only. We have tried to make them as concise as possible but they are by no means definitive as roles and responsibilities differ from journal to journal. The FAQs are mainly addressed to Journal Editors, but where appropriate they may also meet the needs of Publishers given their overarching role in journal responsibility. We welcome feedback about the FAQs and their value and usefulness. If you think additional questions would be of benefit to editors and the publishing community, please send them to email@example.com with the subject header ‘FAQs’.
For the purpose of these FAQs we have divided the Scopus journal selection criteria into a 2-stage process:
1. Pre-submission and self-evaluation
2. Scopus title evaluation
a. Submission process
b. Review decisions by the CSAB
1. What is the CSAB and who comprises the CSAB?
The Scopus Content Selection & Advisory Board (CSAB) is an international group of scientists, who are experts in their respective subject field. The independent CSAB is responsible for reviewing the journals that are suggested to Scopus.
The CSAB comprises 14 Subject Chairs, each representing a specific subject field (s). The Board also works with the Scopus team to understand how Scopus is used, what content is relevant for users and what enhancements should be made. The recommendations of the CSAB directly influence the overall direction of Scopus in relation to its main content and the prioritization of new content requests. This ensures that Scopus stays international and relevant, and most importantly ensures the quality content.
The CSAB undertake their review of a journal submitted to Scopus using the main criteria for evaluation which can be found here.
2. How does a journal need to be suggested for the Scopus title evaluation process?
First check if the journal you would like to suggest for Scopus review is eligible. The questions in Stage 1 “Pre-submission” will help you to determine if the journal is eligible for Scopus.
All Scopus journal suggestions need to be submitted via the online suggestion form. When entering the form you will be asked to check the “Agreement” confirming that the journal you are suggesting meets all of the stated minimum criteria.
When completing the form, we ask you to provide detailed journal information: all questions in the suggestion form are mandatory, and you will also be required to upload sample articles in order to complete the suggestion. When you have submitted the completed form, you will receive an automatic confirmation letter that the journal is submitted and will enter the review process.
The confirmation letter merely confirms that the journal suggested has been received and will be considered for review and does not guarantee that it will be indexed in Scopus.
3. Following submission to Scopus, how long will it take before getting a response?
After suggesting a journal for inclusion into Scopus, you will receive an immediate acknowledgement email that confirms that the journal suggested has been received and will be considered for review. However, it does not guarantee that said journal will be indexed in Scopus as it must go through the journal selection process and review by the CSAB before a decision is made. Depending on the number of suggestions received and the available information about the suggested title, it will take 6-12 months before the review process is completed.
4. What happens after the journal is submitted?
After submission, the journal will be checked to determine if it is indeed eligible for Scopus review. If the journal is not accepted at this stage for review, this will be communicated to the original suggestor including the supporting reason(s).
If the journal is eligible for Scopus review, all required information will be obtained and added to the file by the Scopus Title Evaluation team. If needed, the publisher will be asked to complete a “Publisher Information Form” in order to provide or correct information about the journal.
Once all information is complete and the journal suggestion is fully “enriched” – that means it is all completed – the journal will be sent to the relevant Subject Chair of the independent Scopus Content Selection & Advisory Board (CSAB) for review according to the Scopus journal selection criteria.
5. What are the main areas that are considered by the Scopus CSAB review process?
Subject experts of the Scopus CSAB review titles using both quantitative and qualitative measures. The selection criteria that are used in the review process are grouped in five main categories: Journal Policy, Content, Journal Standing, Regularity and Online Availability.
• Convincing editorial concept/policy
• Type of peer-review
• Diversity geographic distribution of editors
• Diversity geographic distribution of authors
Quality of Content
• Academic contribution to the field
• Clarity of abstracts
• Quality and conformity with stated aims & scope
• Readability of articles
• Citedness of journal articles in Scopus
• Editor standing
• No delay in publication schedule
• Content available online
• English-language journal home page
• Quality of home page
6. Where can I find more information about the Scopus review process and the status of the journal I suggested for review?
Details about the Scopus evaluation process and selection criteria can be found here.
If you have specific questions about Scopus title selection or want to know the status of the journal you suggested, you can contact the Scopus team by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
7. How important is the title of the journal?
The title of the journal is very important not only for potential authors but also for researchers who are using Scopus and other databases to search for essential research related to their work. The title can project an international status and with it the higher expectation that the composition of its editorial board are diversified as well as international. The title also denotes clearly the links to the aims and scope of the journal and the expected content. See also the questions on journal titles in the FAQs for Editors.
For example: If the title includes the name of a country such as The French Journal of Informatics it would be assumed that the aims and scope would be focused on informatics in France and (a part of) the articles are likely written in the French language, or informatics internationally but written in the French language. This difference would be seen clearly in the aims and scope of the journal.
If setting up a new journal with an appropriate name it is very important to check for journals with similar names in order to ensure that there is no confusion with these and your own in the major databases. Having similar names may be considered a good idea by some Editor and Editorial Boards in order to access authors already publishing in that field or because of potential prestige by using similar title. However, this is to be avoided as it is not ethical practice (See the COPE Transparency guidelines here).
8. What is expected of a journal with International in the title?
Some journals may misrepresent their journal by inappropriate use of the word International in the title. There is an expectation in using that word that the journal content, Editorial Board and/or Advisory Board, scope and philosophy of the journal will reflect international quality and content. This does not mean one or two members of the Editorial Board being from another country that may or may not reflect the main language of the journal. It needs to be explicit why the journal is considered to be International in all aspects of its publication.
It must also have international Editorial Board members who are active in the management of the journal and its policies. Any person named in relation to a specific role on the journal must have agreed to their name being affiliated to that journal. There may be different models of international representation on journals, such as an International Advisory Board, an International Council and there may be International members on the main Editorial Board. It must be very clear who the Editor or Editor in Chief is and any other journal section Editors and what their role is.
In addition, an international journal must also publish international content or at least demonstrate that it is striving to achieve this. It is not only about international readership but also what the journal represents.
9. How important is the website information to the submission process?
Given that we now live and work in a 'technological ' age and the World Wide Web has become the major source of communication, it is essential that any information related to presentation and content of a journal should reflect the quality of its content.
In relation to the Scopus review process, the journal website is the primary place for the reviewers of the CSAB to visit in order to evaluate the criteria for Scopus inclusion.
If the reviewer is unable to find the information in relation to all aspects of the review process on the journal website, then it will be very difficult to assess the quality of the journal for inclusion in Scopus. It is also important that the website and the journal be clearly visible and separated from other marketing or promotion material of the publisher. For example a university published journal being placed in the middle of the main University web-site rather than a dedicated journal home page.
10. What should the website information include?
The journal website must include:
· Information about the Editor / Editor in Chief and the structure and names of the Editorial Boards and/or International Advisory Board members.
· Author guidelines explaining the manuscript submission process and criteria.
· Information on how the peer-review process is organized.
· Publishing ethics guidelines. The publishing ethics guidelines should make it clear what action the Editor or Editorial Board will take if any malpractice is suspected.
· (if relevant) Clear information about criteria and costs of Open Access options.
· Information about how potential readers can get access to the full-text articles published in the journal.
· Information about the role and organization of the publisher of the journal.
As a potential author it is imperative that any website can be found and viewed easily and has a visual impact on accessing it which is reflective of a professional journal. The reviewers of the CSAB will need similar access during the review process, especially to revise any updated information since the initial submission material.
11. How important is it to keep the website updated?
Up-to-date information on the journal website is very important as it demonstrates clearly an ongoing commitment to the development and sustainability of the journal. If a journal can be seen to have a reducing number of articles over time, or major time gaps between one issue and the other then this raises questions of whether that journal is receiving enough articles (copy flow) to sustain itself .
One of the most important issues is to ensure that all links on the website are working and also that any links created function appropriately and have the most up to date information. Editors need to ensure that all information related to Editorial Board members, office contacts and publishers are accurate in order to ensure it is not misrepresenting itself.
See COPE Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing here.
12. What should a Publisher do if the journal information is part of a University department or a Society?
It is recommended that whenever possible that a journal publication has its own website or home page if it is published on behalf of a Society or Institute. This to ensure that the information and content can be readily seen and considered as a distinct publication in its own right by potential authors, readers and the reviewers of the Scopus CSAB.
Often we see that the Publisher of a journal is a University or Institute. It is essential that if this is the situation that the various departments ensure that similar named journals are not published from the same place and that if more than one journal published by the University, that there is some consistency between information provided on the website.
Occasionally there is also confusion by Universities in close proximity, publishing journals on the same topics with similar titles and competing for the same kind of articles.
If the Society is a small one it needs to be clear where it is seeking its authors from, as if it its membership only, then this can have an impact on the number of papers being submitted to the journal and also impact on its long term sustainability to be included in an international database such as Scopus.
13. How important is the ability to translate the website information into English?
This question is linked into the aims and scope of the journal, and whether it is only for authors who write and speak in one specific language. However, the English language has emerged as being the most common language for international communication in scientific publishing. Long term accessibility of the journal articles and content for the international research community may be something to consider.
Website translation is the first step to sharing internationally to enable cross-national collaboration and communication. The aim is that this will further enhance the citation of the articles as well as the journal.
Many journals from traditionally non-English speaking countries have an option 'button' whereby the web site and the key information is automatically translated into English. This does not however mean translation of the articles, although all journals submitting for inclusion in Scopus must have English-language titles and abstracts.
Given that research and scholarly contributions by authors need maximum accessibility in order to increase their own citations as well as those of journals they publish in, it is noted that there is an increase in the number of journals that now provide at least some of their articles in English in addition to a local language. This is to be encouraged, and is especially important for authors whose research is of international relevance in a specific field but unless accessible in a common language may not then achieve the recognition it requires to become internationally known.
1. What are the main decisions made by the Scopus CSAB?
In the Scopus title evaluation process, the reviewers of the CSAB decide if a journal will be selected for Scopus coverage (accepted) or not (rejected or deferred). Decisions made by the CSAB Subject Chairs are final and will be accompanied with reviewer comments to support the decision. In case of rejection, an end date will be given after when the title may be suggested for Scopus review again (the re-submission date).
2. What does re-submission date mean?
In case of rejection, a conditional embargo date will be given after which the journal title may be suggested for Scopus review again. The embargo period can range from 1 year, 18 months, 2 years, 3 years to 5 years.
3. How does the Scopus CSAB decide on how long to wait before re-submitting a journal?
The embargo period can range from 1 year, 18 months, 2 years, 3 years to 5 years and is dependent on how long the reviewers think it may take before the evaluation feedback can be addressed and take effect. Feedback is normally given as an overall comment, together with positive comments on key areas with more constructive comments on areas for improvement, all in keeping with the key assessment areas of inclusion in Scopus.
4. How long does the journal stay in the Scopus database?
Once a journal is selected for Scopus it will be covered from the year of selection onwards. Journals that are selected for Scopus within the third publication year will be covered from the first publication year onwards. If complete journal archives are available in digital format, the publisher may request to add backfiles to Scopus. Journals selected for Scopus will be covered in the database on a continuous basis; however, the performance of journals included in Scopus is being evaluated and poor performing journals may be discontinued.
Scopus reserves the right to re-evaluate and remove journals as it sees fit and journals with a proven case of publication malpractice will be cancelled for Scopus coverage and removed from the database.
5. What can Editors and publishers do to ensure that the journal quality is maintained once included in the Scopus database?
Editors need to ensure that they communicate regularly with their Board members, updating author and reviewer information as well as promoting good practice is also recommended. Publishers should give their Scopus-included Editors and journals support to maintain communication networks and the quality of the website and marketing of the journal to the wider scholarly community. Once articles/journals begin to increase their citations there will be an increased interest in the journal itself and its aims and scope and future direction.
All the Scopus selection criteria need to be maintained but most importantly the journal needs to develop and expand its readership and authorship. Editors have a major role to play in ensuring that the journals maintain their quality while also ensuring that there is ongoing growth and accessibility of the content of the journal by the research community.
Regular monitoring of the way in which other authors and journals are citing the journal is an excellent monitoring tool that indicates that being in Scopus is making an impact. Editors can monitor this through Scopus itself and by using the journal metrics provided for Scopus covered journals.
6. After being indexed in Scopus, is there a possibility that a journal might still be removed from Scopus if there is an increased reduction in the quality of the content in that journal?
The Scopus CSAB are committed to maintaining the quality of all journals and publications included in the Scopus database. However, once selected this does not mean that the journal remains there indefinitely. To continue to be covered in Scopus, the Publisher, Editor and Editorial Board(s) have a commitment to ensure that the quality on which it was judged for inclusion is maintained and is worthy of remaining in an international database .
Publishers can protect a journal's reputation and maintain its quality by ensuring that it practices publication ethics at all times and ensures that its Editorial team and authors do the same at the level of the journal article. This is an essential pre-requisite for remaining in the Scopus database.
7. What advice and guidance is available to any publisher wishing to develop a new journal for inclusion in the Scopus database?
Publishers or editors who wish to have their title accepted for Scopus coverage are recommended to consult the Scopus info site and the advisory document written by the CSAB. In addition, the questions in these FAQs as well as those related to the Journal Editor role will be of value.
For questions about the review process itself you can contact: email@example.com.
Written by: Karen Holland (CSAB Subject Chair), Derrick Duncombe, Elizabeth Dyas and Wim Meester (all three member of the Scopus Team).
Last Updated: March 2018