Suppression of FSI Genetics

Suppression of FSI Genetics from the 2019 Journal Citation Report

A letter from Clarivate, the publisher of the Journal Citation Report (JCR), which arrived at the end of June 2020 has resulted in frustration and anger among the editors of our society's scientific journal Forensic Science International: Genetics (FSIGEN) and our publishing company Elsevier. The message from Clarivate was as follows:
Please note that Forensic Science International-Genetics will not be included in the upcoming release of the Web of Science Journal Citation Reports (JCR) from Clarivate due to atypically high levels of journal self-citation. This would have resulted in an increased Journal Impact Factor (JIF) that would not give an accurate representation of the journal’s standing with respect to the surrounding scholarly literature.
Our analysis was performed using the 2019 citation data for this journal. We found:
­ 45.0% of all 2019 outgoing citations from the journal to 2018 or 2017 scholarly literature were journal self-citations.
­ These citations account for 44.5% of the JIF numerator.
Each of these values exceed the normal ranges for journals in the Genetics & Heredity and the Medicine, Legal categories.
In 2020, we have updated our methodology and parameters for identifying journal self-citation. The improved methodology makes comparisons within each journal’s category, rather than the entire JCR edition, to better account for discipline norms. (…) Clarivate does not assume or investigate motive on behalf of any party when making the decision to suppress a journal.
We realize this will be disappointing news for you. Suppression from JCR does not result in automatic removal from Web of Science but may result in an editorial re-evaluation. Assuming continued coverage in Web of Science, Forensic Science International-Genetics will be re-considered for inclusion in the 2021 JCR report, based on 2020 data.
Following the arrival of this letter, the current editors of our journal, together with the ISFG Executive Board Members started a discussion to agree on a strategy to appeal this decision. As a result, a letter to appeal the suppression of FSIGEN from the Journal Citation Report was sent to Clarivate, and an Editorial was published in FSIGEN: "On the suppression of Forensic Science International: Genetics from the 2019 Journal Citations Report".
Fsigen_selfcites2019 Percentage of FSIGEN self cites 2014-2019
On July 31, 2020, the Editors received an official reply from Clarivate rejecting the appeal, and the Editors sent a rebuttal with a re-appeal to revoke the suppression to Clarivate.

Reactions from the ISFG Working Parties

In addition, members of numerous ISFG Working Parties have started their own initiatives to send letters to Clarivate appealing the suppression of the IF. Most notably, the Spanish and Portuguese Speaking ISFG Working Group (GHEP-ISFG) has written a manifest that includes a petition signed by almost 500 scientists to support the appeal. This has been taken up by the website "Retraction Watch", a non-profit website dealing with publication ethics.

Reactions from other scientific associations

Several scientific associations and working groups have sent letters of support to Clarivate requesting to reinstate the Impact Factor for FSI Genetics:

Reinstatement of the impact factor 2021

The impact factor for FSI Genetics, has been reinstated by Clarivate for 2020. In the new edition of the report, the IF is now at 4.882, see;422. No explanation has been offered by Clarivate for the reinstatement. A PDF document about the 2021 release of the Journal Citation Report has been made available for downloading.
(last update: December 22, 2021)

Last modified 2 years and 6 months ago by Prof. Dr. Peter M. Schneider †