Skip Menu

Return to Skip Menu

Main Content



    ISI Web of Science
This resource is restricted to Virginia Tech users only Screencast tutorials available for this resource

Essential Science Indicators from Thomson's InCites

Essential Science Indicators is a unique compilation of performance statistics and trends extrapolated from counts of articles published in scholarly journals and the citations to those articles. It ranks authors, institutions, countries, and journals across 22 broad disciplines. It's used to conduct analyses of scientific literature:

  • Identify top researchers or institutions in specific disciplines
  • Identify trends and emerging areas of research
  • Evaluate potential employees, collaborators, reviewers, and peers
  • See who is publishing the "hottest" papers in a field

Indicators table

Indicators are generated from the group, filter, and show selections you make in the report.

  • Web of Science Documents is the total number of documents in the current 10-year period.
  • Cites is the total number of citations received by Web of Science documents. This is the value that determines the rank in column 1 in the default view.
  • Cites/Paper is the quotient obtained by dividing Cites by Web of Science documents.
  • Top Papers is the sum of hot papers and highly cited papers. More specifically, it is the number of papers in the top 1% of papers for the past ten years, plus the number of papers in the past two years that received a very high number of citations in the current two-month period. This total discounts duplicates, so that a paper that is both hot and highly cited is counted only once.

Additional indicators can be added by clicking Customize:

  • Cites to Top Papers is the aggregate number of citations received by the top papers.
  • Cites/Top Paper is the quotient obtained by dividing Cites to Top Papers by Top Papers.
  1. Who are the top authors by field?Search Highly Cited Authors and narrow down by research fields to identify the best of the best. Dig deeper to view their hot and highly cited papers and categorize all of the fields in which authors are ranked. View the 2015 Highly Cited Researchers!
  2. Understand emerging research trends. Quickly identify specialty areas within the research landscape. Analyze Web of ScienceTM Core Collection data to identify highly cited papers, then run another analysis for co-citation occurrences to find groups of papers that are frequently cited together. Within Essential Science Indicators, Research Fronts are clusters of related papers that are identified through patterns of co-citation, indicating new areas of inquiry. Watch this video to learn more.
  3. View annual expected citation rates.Help your researchers understand the impact of their papers as quantified by citations. To place this impact in context, view baseline citation figures by main field and year of publication, along with percentiles that provide specific citation thresholds for top-ranking papers in each field. Understand Baselines & Thresholds.
  4. Start your analysis with Web of Science.With both a Web of Science and Essential Science Indicators subscription, you will see metrics from Essential Science Indicators in your Web of Science Core Collection search results. View icons indicating papers that, thanks to notably elevated citation rates, have officially been designated as Hot (based on two-year totals) or Highly Cited (as tracked over the last decade).
  5. Take your analysis offline!First, you can save your analysis and come back to it at any time. This is a great way to track changes in citation performance over time. Additionally, you can export your results in a pdf, spreadsheet, or document list. Learn more.

Essential Science Indicators journal category scope notes

Agricultural Sciences

Agricultural Sciences covers journals in general agriculture, agricultural chemistry and engineering, agronomy, dairy science, and animal science as it relates to agricultural needs, as well as food science and nutrition. Topics covered include tillage research and soil science; agroforestry; horticulture; crop protection and science; pest control and weed science; agrochemistry; phytochemistry; agricultural biochemistry; food chemistry; cereal chemistry; carbohydrate and lipid research; food composition, additives, and contaminants; food microbiology and technology; agricultural engineering and processing; meat and dairy science; animal breeding; animal genetics, nutrition, and production; poultry science; nutrition and metabolism; and nutritional biochemistry. Clinical nutrition also maps here. Agricultural economics maps to Economics & Business.

Biology & Biochemistry

Biology & Biochemistry covers a broad range of general topics. These include structure and chemistry of biological molecules; molecular, cellular, and clinical studies of the endocrine system (but does not include clinical endocrinology); regulation of cell, organ, and system functions by hormones; experimental research in general biology and biological systems; anatomy; physiology; cytology; pathology; morphology; proteomics; histochemistry; biophysics; regulation of biological functions at the whole organism level; exploitation of living organisms or their components; industrial microbiology; pollution remediation; industrial chemicals and enzymes; biosensors; bioelectronics; pesticide development; food, flavor, and fragrance industry applications; and waste treatment. Computational biology and life-science-related microscopy journals also map here.


The Chemistry category covers a broad spectrum of topics within the chemical sciences, including analytical chemistry, inorganic and nuclear chemistry, organic chemistry, physical chemistry, crystallography, electrochemistry, chemical methods and structures, natural and laboratory syntheses, and isolation and analysis of clinically significant molecules. This category also covers instrumentation and spectroscopy journals. Miscellaneous and applied chemistry journals also map here.

Polymer science journals not largely related to Materials Science map here; otherwise, they map to Materials Science. Chemical engineering journals also map here, provided they deal exclusively with chemical engineering—if they deal with multiple forms of engineering, they map to Engineering.

Clinical Medicine

The Clinical Medicine category covers journals dealing with a wide range of medical and biomedical topics. These include anesthesia and critical care medicine, cardiovascular medicine and cardiology, dentistry, dermatology, general and internal medicine, endocrinology, environmental medicine, gastroenterology, gynecology, hepatology, hematology, legal medicine, nephrology, nuclear medicine, nursing, obstetrics and reproductive medicine, oncology, ophthalmology, otolaryngology, pediatrics, radiology, respiratory medicine and pulmonology, rheumatology, surgery (including neurosurgery), and urology.

Clinical pharmacology as it relates to clinical trials maps here; otherwise pharmacology topics map to Pharmacology & Toxicology. All nutrition topics map toAgricultural Sciences. Ethics journals solely devoted to medical ethics map here. Journals dealing with the clinical aspects of substance abuse are classified here; those dealing with the social aspects map to Social Sciences, General.

Computer Science

Computer Science encompasses computer hardware and architecture, computer software, software engineering and design, computer graphics, programming languages, theoretical computing, computing methodologies, interdisciplinary computer applications, artificial intelligence theory, information systems and information technology, telecommunications, communications via various devices and systems, and acquisition, processing, storage, management, and dissemination of information. Bioinformatics journals also map here.

Economics & Business

The Economics & Business category includes journals which cover theoretical, political, agricultural, and developmental economics, as well as business, finance, management, organizational science, strategic planning and decision-making methods, and industrial relations and labor matters.


Engineering includes publications covering a number of engineering disciplines, including aerospace engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical and electronics engineering, nuclear energy, civil engineering (which also encompasses water resources and supply and transportation and municipal engineering), the effects of humans on the environment and controls to minimize environmental degradation, applied artificial intelligence, robotics and automatic control, engineering mathematics (which encompasses mathematical modeling, optimization techniques, and statistical methods in engineering systems), energy and fuels, operations research, engineering management, construction and building technology, and the development, manufacture, and application of instruments.

Chemical engineering journals also related to other areas of engineering map here; otherwise they map to Chemistry.


Environment/Ecology covers interrelated disciplines on pure and applied ecology, ecological modeling and engineering, ecotoxicology, evolutionary ecology, environmental contamination and toxicology, environmental health, environmental monitoring and management, environmental technology, environmental geology, water resources research, climate change, limnology, and biodiversity conservation. Natural history journals are also covered here. Environmental Studies subjects map to Social Sciences.


The Geosciences category covers a broad range of journals related to physical studies of the Earth. These include geology, geochemistry, geophysics, geotechnics, economic geology, petrochemistry, mineralogy, meteorology and atmospheric sciences, hydrology, oceanography, petroleum geology, volcanology, seismology, climatology, paleontology, remote sensing, geodesy, and geological, petroleum, and mining engineering.


The category of Immunology incorporates journals containing cellular and molecular studies in immunology; clinical research in immunopathology; infectious diseases; autoimmunity and allergy; host-pathogen interactions in infectious diseases; and experimental therapeutic applications of immunomodulating agents.

Materials Science

The Materials Science category deals with journals covering the admixtures of matter or the basic materials from which products are constructed. These include ceramics, paper and wood products, textiles, composites, coatings and films, biomaterials, metals and alloys, metallurgy, superconductors and semiconductors, ferroelectrics, dielectrics, and the application of chemistry to materials design and testing. Polymer journals largely related to Materials Science map here; otherwise they map to Chemistry.


The Mathematics category comprises journals dealing with pure and applied mathematics as well as statistics and probability.


The Microbiology category contains journals dealing with biology and biochemistry of protozoa and microorganisms (bacterial, viral, and parasitic), medical implications of the subsets of these organisms known to cause diseases, and the biotechnology applications of microorganisms for basic science or clinical use. Fungi journals are not mapped to this category, but rather to Plant & Animal Science.

Molecular Biology & Genetics

Molecular Biology & Genetics covers all aspects of basic and applied genetics, as well as research that has specific emphasis on cellular functions in eukaryotic systems. These topics include biochemistry in eukaryotic systems; receptor biology; signal transduction; regulation of gene expression; morphogenesis; cell-environment interactions; molecular genetics; developmental genetics; developmental biology; biomedical engineering; mechanisms of mutagenesis; structure, function, and regulation of genetic material; clinical genetics; patterns of inheritance; genetics causes of diseases; and screening for and treatment of genetic diseases. General cell biology journals also map here.


This category includes journals of a broad or general character in the sciences and covers the spectrum of major scientific disciplines. It also includes journals devoted to a multidisciplinary approach to the study of particular regions, ecosystems, or biological systems, as well as interdisciplinary journals designed to illuminate significant connections between fields.

Neuroscience & Behavior

Neuroscience & Behavior includes journals that cover cellular and molecular neuroscience, neuronal development, basic and clinical neurology, psychopharmacology, biobehavioral psychology, molecular psychology, and neuronal function underlying higher cognitive processes. Neurosurgery is not covered in this category, but rather in Clinical Medicine with other surgical journals.

Pharmacology & Toxicology

Pharmacology covers journals dealing with pharmacology; pharmaceutics, cellular and molecular pharmacology; drug design and metabolism; mechanisms of drug action; drug delivery; natural products and traditional medicines; xenobiotics; medicinal chemistry; and mechanisms of action for clinical therapeutics.

Toxicology covers journals dealing with molecular and cellular effects of harmful substances, environmental toxicology, occupational exposure, and clinical toxicology.


Physics includes journals covering articles from all areas of physics and the following subfields: mathematical physics, particle and nuclear physics, physics of fluids and plasmas, quantum physics, theoretical physics, chemical physics, applied physics, condensed matter physics, physics of materials, and optics and acoustics.

Plant & Animal Science

Plant Science covers general botany journals as well as non-agricultural plant research, including regional botany, mycology, bryology, plant physiology, forestry, plant pathology, economic botany, aquatic botany and toxicology, marine ecology, plant nutrition, photosynthesis research, experimental botany, and cellular and molecular biology or physiology of plant cells and plant systems.

Animal Science covers non-agricultural animal science journals. Topics include animal behavior, health, and genetics; veterinary medicine; lab animal science; marine and freshwater biology; fisheries science; aquaculture; entomology; evolutionary biology; wildlife research; and zoology, encompassing primatology, mammalogy, ornithology, herpetology, nematology, and malacology.


All areas of psychiatry and psychology are covered in this category, including applied, biological, clinical, developmental, educational, mathematical, organizational, personal, and social, as well as the diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric disorders.

Social Sciences, General

The Social Sciences category includes journals which cover communication, environmental studies, library and information sciences, political science, public health and administration, rehabilitation, social work and social policy, sociology, anthropology, law, education, linguistics, tourism and hospitality, and demography. Journals covering the history and philosophy of science also map to this category. Ethics journals are classified here, unless they deal strictly with medical ethics, then they map to Clinical Medicine. Journals dealing with the social aspects of substance abuse map here; any with clinical aspects map to Clinical Medicine.

Space Sciences

The Space Science category covers journals dealing with all areas of astronomy and astrophysics, celestial bodies, and observation and interpretation of radiation from the component parts of the universe.

Arts & Humanities

Arts & Humanities are not covered in ESI.


  • Concurrent users:  
  • Permissions:  
  • Restrictions:  
  • ILL:  
  • Authorized users:  
  • Resource advisory:  


10 year rolling coverage, updated every two months


January 4, 2015


restricted resource Resource is restricted to current Virginia Tech students, faculty, and staff. Use Off Campus Sign In if not on the campus network.
licensed for Virginia Tech alumni access Resource is licensed for Virginia Tech alumni access. Use Alumni Library Portal Sign In to access.
freely accessible database Freely accessible database, available to anyone without restriction
mobile interface Mobile interface available, see description for link.
Screencast tutorial available Screencast tutorial available, icon linked to list.
Contents in summon Contents of this database are in Summon.
get VText Resource provides Get VText links to access full text.
gold open access - publishing Resource provides open access publishing opportunities and open access publications.
get VText Resource provides self archiving opportunities and open access documents.


NOTE: Most items obtained from this page are subscribed to by the library and accessible only to Virginia Tech students, faculty, and staff.
WARNING: The abuse of Virginia Tech licensed online resources by such means as systematic downloading violates the university's acceptable use policy, jeopardizes Tech's future access to resources, and is prohibited.