Q: Is an SCI journal still considered an SCI one after renaming?

Detailed Question -

The SCI journal I submitted to has been renamed, and is now not findable in Web of Science. The journal editor said that its impact factor (IF) will be generated two years later. I tried to search articles of this journal published in 2019; they are there. However, for 2020, they are not. My question is: Is the journal still considered an SCI one after renaming?

1 Answer to this question

Journals change their name for various reasons, such as a change of scope or a merger with another journal. When they do so, the IF of the new journal changes too, as the new journal is considered a separate publication from the previous one. Technically speaking, the new journal does not have an IF for the first two years of its publication. This is because, as you may know and as the editor shared with you, IF is based on articles published in the journal for the previous two years. Therefore, for the first year, as you have seen, you will not be able to find the new journal in a database such as Web of Science. For the same reason, you will continue to find the previous journal in the database.

In the second year though, things change. In the second year, the new journal will have an immediacy index, though still not an IF. Also, the two journals together will have a unified IF for these two years. This is because the new journal has had articles published for only one year and the previous journal has had articles published up until last year. As the new journal still does not have an IF, it will not be available in any database.

In the third year, the new journal would have had articles published for at least two years, will therefore have an IF, and will thus be available in databases. However, its IF will most likely not be very high as it will be based only on articles published for two years. Over time though, based on the quality of the journal, its IF may increase.

To know more about how IF changes with a name change for a journal, refer to these resources:

Coming to your query, the new journal would not have an IF for two years after its renaming and would therefore not be an “SCI journal.” If you believe this may affect the visibility of your paper, depending on which stage your paper is in, you may consider withdrawing and submitting your paper to another journal. If however you see potential in the new journal (based on the merits of the previous journal and the credentials of the publisher), you may decide to remain with the new journal.