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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 50  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 115-116
What is indexing

Department of Orthopaedics, UCMS and Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, New Delhi, India

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Date of Web Publication29-Feb-2016

How to cite this article:
Dhammi IK, RU. What is indexing. Indian J Orthop 2016;50:115-6

How to cite this URL:
Dhammi IK, RU. What is indexing. Indian J Orthop [serial online] 2016 [cited 2020 Mar 29];50:115-6. Available from:
The prestige of any journal is considered by how many abstracting and indexing services cover that journal. It has been observed in last few years that authors have started searching for indexed journals to publish their articles. Probably this is happening because it has become a mandatory requirement for further promotions of teaching faculty in medical colleges and institutions. However, the big question is after all what is an “Index Journal”? Is a journal considered indexed if it is documented in a local database, regional database, or in any continental database? Based on available literature, we would like to clear in few forthcoming paragraphs what is the history of indexing, what is actual indexing, and what is nonindexing?

Citation index (indexing) is an ordered list of cited articles, each accompanied by a list of citing articles.[1] The citing article is identified as source and the cited article as reference. An abstracting and indexing service is a product, a publisher sells, or makes available. The journal contents are searchable using subject headings (keywords, author's names, title, abstract, etc.,) in available database.[2] Being represented in the relevant online abstracting and indexing services is an essential factor for the success of a journal. Today search is done online, so it is imperative that a journal is represented in the relevant online search system. A citation index is a kind of bibliographic database, an index of citation between publications, allowing the user to easily establish which later documents, cite which earlier documents.[3]

A form of citation index was first found in the 12th century in Hebrew religious literature. Legal citation indexes were found in the 18th century and were made popular by citators such as Shepard's citations (1873).[3] In 1960, the Eugene Garfields Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) introduced the first citation index for papers published in academic journals, first the science citation index (SCI) and later social science's citation index and the arts and humanities citation index. The first automated citation indexing was done by “CiteSeer” in 1997. Other sources for such data include Google Scholar and Elsevier's scopus.[3]

Currently major citation indexing services are:

  • SCI and SCI-expanded: Published by ISI a part of Thomson Reuters. As mentioned, SCI was originally produced by ISI and created by Eugene Garfield (1964).[4],[5] The SCI's database has two aims – first, to identify what each scientist has published and second, where and how often the papers by that scientist are cited. The SCI's electronic version is called “Web of Science.”[4] SCI-expanded indexes 8073 journals with citation references across 174 scientific disciplines in science edition [6]
  • Scopus: Scopus (Elsevier) is a bibliographic database containing abstracts and citations for academic journal articles. It covers 21,000 titles from over 5000 publishers.[7] It is published by Elsevier and is available online only
  • Indian citation index (ICI): An online citation data ICI [8] is a new web platform for measuring performance of Indian research periodically. This online bibliographic database was launched in 2009. ICI covers 800 plus journals which are published from India on science, technical, medical, and social sciences.[8]

In addition, “CiteSeer” and Google Scholar' are freely available online.

   Index Medicaus/medlars/medline/entrez and Pubmed Top

John Show Billings, Head of the Library of the Surgeon General's Office, United States Army, which was later evolved as the United States National Library of Medicine (NLM), started index medicus (IM). IM was a comprehensive bibliographic index of scientific journal articles related to medical science, in print form, published between 1879 and 2004. NLM began computerizing indexing work in 1960 and called it MEDLARS, a bibliographic database, which later became MEDLINE. Thus, IM became the print presentation of MEDLINE databases content. Both print presentation (IM) and online database (MEDLINE) continued until 2004. In December 2004, the last issue of IM was published (volume 45). The stated reason for discontinuing printed publication was obvious because online resources supplanted it. The electronic presentations of MEDLINE'S contents also evolved, first with proprietary online services (accessed mostly at libraries) and later with CD-ROMS, then with Entrez and PubMed. PubMed greatly accelerated the shift of online access to MEDLINE from something one did at the library to something one did anywhere.[9] An abridged version was published from 1970 to 1997 as the Abridged IM. The abridged edition lives on as a subset of the journals covered by PubMed (core clinical journals).

   Embase/experta Medica Top

Embase is database of Experta Medica (a print version), and it is a biomedical pharmalogical database formed of published literature. Embase is produced by Elsevier and contains over 28 million records of over 8400 files up to date, information about drugs, published in literature. Embase enables tracking and retrieval of drug information.[10]

Index Copernicus

Index Copernicus (IC)[11] is an online database of user-contributed information, including scientist profiles as well as of scientific institutions, publications, and projects established in 1999 in Poland. The database is named after Nicolaus Copernicus and operated by IC International. However, ICS evaluation methodology is criticized.[12]

As per Editor insight series of Wolters Kluwer, there are four major online bibliographic sites – MEDLINE, PubMed Central, ISI, and scopus.[7] Inclusion in MEDLINE confers a mark of quality upon a publication. PubMed Central gives greater access to open access contents and ISI provides an official impact factor. Inclusion in Scopus gives a clear view of journal metrics and provides H-Index and citation impact.[7]

There are certain nonabstracting and indexing services that many publishers claim to be indexed in Scribd Cabelles Directories, slide share Google Docs, open J-Gate, and New journal.

Editor insight series of Wolter Kluwer claim PubMed (NLM) and PubMed Central (NLM) as not an index. PubMed is a website that includes the bibliographic data from MEDLINE index.

PubMed Central is a free digital repository that archives publically accessible full-text articles. About 1600 journals automatically deposit their articles.

Medical Council of India considers following as indexing agencies: Scopus, PubMed, MEDLINE, Embase/Excerpta Medica, Index Medicaus, and IC.[12]

To conclude, citation indexing services include SCI, SCI expanded. Rest are search engines or bibliographic online data base. Major such bibliographic sites are MEDLINE (most prestigious and its most of the data are published by PubMed), ISI, Scopus and Indian citation index (emerging).

   References Top

Garfield E. Citation indexing for studying science. Nature 1970;227:669-71.  Back to cited text no. 1
Journal Indexing: What it is, and What It's Not. Available from: . [Last accessed on 2016 Jan 27].  Back to cited text no. 2
Citation Index. Available from: . [Last accessed on 2016 Jan 27].  Back to cited text no. 3
Garfield E. The evolution of the science citation index. Int Microbiol 2007;10:65-9.  Back to cited text no. 4
Science Citation Index. Available from: . [Last accessed on 2016 Jan 27].  Back to cited text no. 5
Yuh-Shan H. Science citation index expanded. Scientometrics 2013;94:1297-312.  Back to cited text no. 6
MacRae DA. Indexing: Myths and Realities, Editor Newsletter Series I. Georgia, United States: Wolters Kluwer Medknow Publications; 2015.  Back to cited text no. 7
Indian Citation Index. Available from: . [Last accessed on 2016 Jan 27].  Back to cited text no. 8
Index Medicus. Available from: . [Last accessed on 2016 Feb 12].  Back to cited text no. 9
Embase. Available from: . [Last accessed on 2016 Feb 12].  Back to cited text no. 10
Index Copernicus. Available from: [Last accessed on 2016 Feb 12].  Back to cited text no. 11
Medical Council of India. Clarification with Regard to Research Publications in the Matter of Promotion for Teaching Faculty in Medical Colleges/Institutions (Dated Sept 3, 2015 and No. MCI-12 (1)/2015-TEQ/131880); 2015. Available from: . [Last cited on 2015 Sep 19].  Back to cited text no. 12

Correspondence Address:
Ish Kumar Dhammi
Department of Orthopaedics, UCMS and Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, New Delhi - 110 095
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-5413.177579

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