Revisions to the Nature Index

A revised list of journals improves the balance of disciplines between the natural sciences.

6 June 2018

Nature Index

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The new list of nature Index journals increases the coverage of Earth and environmental science articles.

The Nature Index database has been updated to include author affiliation information from a revised list of journals. The database now indexes 82 high-quality science journals, updated from the previous 68, to provide more even coverage of disciplines.

The expansion alleviates the over-representation of astronomy and astrophysics articles, and increases the coverage of articles in Earth and environmental sciences, and the life sciences. We have also added high-quality research journals that have emerged in the years since the list was first compiled.

These changes remove the need for a weighted measure of author contribution because the number of articles in astronomy and astrophysics is now balanced with other fields. As a result, the weighted fractional count (WFC) metric is now redundant. The fractional count (FC) is now the primary metric for evaluating author contribution.

Here, we describe how the 82 journals were selected, and examine their coverage.

Journal selection

The new journal list was determined by panels of independent academics and informed by a global survey of the wider research community, the same method as was used for the original list when Nature Index launched in 2014.

Two panels — one from the life sciences, and the other from the physical sciences — headed by a chair-person, were given primary responsibility for selecting the journals.

The panels comprised some 60 active academics, drawn from a range of life and physical science disciplines and geographical regions, with gender balance observed. Panelists were asked to list the journals they would most like to publish in and were asked not to consider impact factor.

The journal selection was also informed by an email survey sent to researchers in the life, physical and medical sciences. More than 6,600 researchers responded with their top selections for journals in which they would want to publish their best work.

Targets were set to ensure a balanced representation of each of the four broad subjects covered in the Nature Index. Articles included in the index subset had to represent about 4–5% of all articles in that subject in the Web of Science database.

Top picks

Of the final list of 82 journals, 18 were not included in the previous 68, including eLIFE, Nature Climate Change, and Water Research. Four journals have been dropped from the previous list, and the larger Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (MNRAS) has been replaced with MNRAS Letters, which includes research that “merits urgent publication”.

The change represents an increase of about 3.5% in the number of articles in the index, from an average annual output of 56,505 papers to 58,491.

Coverage of papers in Earth and environmental sciences doubles, because the five journals that have been added in the field publish more papers than the two that have been removed.

The new list, from which two journals in astronomy and astrophysics have been removed, along with the replacement of MNRAS with MNRAS Letters, reduces articles in that field by nearly 90%.

The 82 journals included in the Nature Index reflect the breadth of literature published in the natural sciences. They represent the titles in which active academics would most like to publish their best work.

Journal list (newly added journals in bold)

  • ACS Nano
  • Advanced Functional Materials
  • Advanced Materials
  • American Journal of Human Genetics
  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Angewandte Chemie International Edition
  • Applied Physics Letters
  • Astronomy & Astrophysics
  • Cancer Cell
  • Cancer Research
  • Cell
  • Cell Host & Microbe
  • Cell Metabolism
  • Cell Stem Cell
  • Chemical Communications
  • Chemical Science
  • Current Biology
  • Developmental Cell
  • Earth and Planetary Science Letters
  • Ecology Letters
  • eLife
  • Environmental Science & Technology
  • European Physical Journal C
  • Genes & Development
  • Genome Research
  • Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
  • Geology
  • Geophysical Research Letters
  • Immunity
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Journal of Biological Chemistry
  • Journal of Cell Biology
  • Journal of Clinical Investigation
  • Journal of Experimental Medicine
  • Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
  • Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
  • Journal of High Energy Physics
  • Journal of Neuroscience
  • Journal of American Chemical Society
  • Macromolecules
  • Molecular Cell
  • Molecular Psychiatry
  • Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Letters
  • Nano Letters
  • Nature
  • Nature Biotechnology
  • Nature Cell Biology
  • Nature Chemical Biology
  • Nature Chemistry
  • Nature Climate Change
  • Nature Communications
  • Nature Genetics
  • Nature Geoscience
  • Nature Immunology
  • Nature Materials
  • Nature Medicine
  • Nature Methods
  • Nature Nanotechnology
  • Nature Neuroscience
  • Nature Photonics
  • Nature Physics
  • Nature Structural & Molecular Biology
  • Neuron
  • Organic Letters
  • Physical Review A
  • Physical Review B
  • Physical Review D
  • Physical Review Letters
  • Physical Review X
  • PLOS Biology
  • PLOS Genetics
  • Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
  • Proceedings of the Royal Society B
  • Science
  • Science Advances
  • Science Translational Medicine
  • The Astrophysical Journal Letters
  • The EMBO Journal
  • The ISME Journal: Multidisciplinary Journal of Microbial Ecology
  • The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters
  • The Plant Cell
  • Water Research

Removed journals

  • Ecology
  • Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans
  • The Astrophysical Journal
  • The Astrophysical Journal Supplement
  • Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (replaced with MNRAS Letters)

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