Marketing, Society & Partner Zone Issue 9

A Short Guide to Abstracting & Indexing Services for Society Journals

Why A&I services Are Imperative and How They Work

The days when scientists used to go to the library to manually look for journal articles of their interest are long gone. Looking through dozens of physical journals or consulting literature overviews in book format became obsolete with the dawn of the electronic era and the availability of searchable online listings of all that journal information. Nowadays more than 400 online Abstracting and Indexing (A&I) services provide these search capabilities for the various disciplines and research areas.

Which are the most important A&I services and how do they work?

While there are only a few A&I services that cover all disciplines (Google and Thomson Reuters /ISI being the most important), most A&I services cover just one discipline allowing them to cover their area in more depth.


Thomson Reuters /ISI

Well-known discipline-specific indexing services include

PubMed/Medline (in the field of medicine)

ChemAbstracts (chemistry)

ADS (astronomy & physics)

Zentralblatt für Mathematik (mathematics)

among many others.

The key player in the A&I service field is – as in many other fields – Google. Google indexes every journal article and every (e)Book Springer publishes by routinely downloading new publication information as it becomes available on SpringerLink. Google also provides information about journal articles cited by other articles which doubles as a vital information source for researchers to determine the quality of a journal.

Taking into account that about 50% of SpringerLink visitors come to us through Google’s search engine, we do have to ensure that our content is fully indexed in order to close the circle and drive even more traffic to our platform.

Thomson Reuters/ISI, the other important interdisciplinary A&I service, provides a ranking of journals by Impact Factor that is widely used in the scientific community. As Thomson Reuters/ISI are very selective with the journals they index in their database, journals undergo a lengthy evaluation process that may take a year or more. An evaluation of the quality of an article, both editorial (quality of abstracts, figures, tables, author lists and reference lists), as well as scientific, is the basis for Thomson Reuter’s journal ranking. Additionally, the number of citations by other journals and the regularity and timeliness of the publication determine to a large extent whether a journal is accepted or not.

The majority of the discipline-specific A&I services are selective in their choice of journals only as far as the subject matter of the journal is concerned. If the subject fits in the topic of the A&I service, it is generally accepted.

What does Springer’s cooperation with A&I services look like?

Springer works with essentially all A&I services through a dedicated A&I department and in close cooperation with the individual in-house Publishing Editors. We inform A&I services about new journals, publisher changes and name changes by providing electronic metadata. These data include the article information (journal, volume, page, titles, authors, abstracts) as well as reference lists. In some cases we also allow access to the full text when it is necessary for indexing by individual A&I services.

How does a society journal benefit from being indexed by these services?

Being represented in the relevant online A&I services is without question an essential factor for the success of a society journal. Today all searching is done online, so it is imperative that a journal is represented in the relevant online search systems. Moreover, authors rely on finding articles through A&I services and therefore boost their usage when reading them. When they come across high-quality articles of a certain journal in their search, they are also very likely to consider the journal a good outlet to publish in themselves.

Springer works closely with all societies and Editors-in-Chief to make sure their journal is included in all A&I services that are important to the journals and the discipline.