American Chemical Society journals remain the most cited in chemistry

WASHINGTON, July 1, 2021 — The American Chemical Society (ACS) journals reached new levels of impact, citations and output in 2020. The 2021 Web of Science™ Journal Citation Reports™ from Clarivate, released yesterday, detail the extent to which ACS journals influence and shape chemistry across its many fields.

Throughout their entire portfolio, ACS journals achieved a median 2020 Journal Impact Factor™, Journal Citation Reports™ (Clarivate, 2021), of 5.097, a 14% increase from 2019. A Journal Impact Factor™, calculated yearly by Clarivate, provides a measure of how often an average article from a journal has been cited in the previous year. This increase demonstrates that articles published in ACS journals are growing ever more relevant to scientists. Total citations also grew by over 550,000, a more than 15% increase, and citations grew from the previous year for every one of ACS’ journals.

ACS journals have continuously achieved new heights of excellence for over a decade, and this year’s figures represent the highest in the publisher’s history. The number of articles published also increased to 58,974 articles, and usage among ACS’ readers soared, with nearly 170 million article downloads across the journal portfolio. As a result, ACS journals were named the most cited or the most impactful in 10 categories, including five of the seven main chemistry categories: Chemistry, Analytical; Chemistry, Inorganic & Nuclear; Chemistry, Medicinal; Chemistry, Multidisciplinary; and Chemistry, Organic. ACS’ prominence in the chemistry portfolio far outpaces competitors, such as Wiley, Elsevier, Springer Nature or Taylor & Francis, whose portfolios have not reached the same level of prominence in the chemistry categories.

“To see strong growth in output and citations during such a challenging year is a testament to the dedication of our authors, editors and peer reviewers and the trust they place in our journals,” says Sarah Tegen, Ph.D., senior vice president, ACS Publications Division. “Even as labs and universities closed and researchers around the world adapted to new ways of working, we came together as a community to ensure that the dissemination of scientific articles would not stop. The growth across our portfolio is a triumph against a historic year of obstacles, and we are deeply grateful to those who made it possible.”

The Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS), ACS’ flagship journal, remains the most-cited journal in chemistry with 609,263 total citations and a Journal Impact Factor™ of 15.419. This strong performance solidifies its place above competitor journals, such as Wiley’s Angewandte Chemie International Edition. Articles from JACS were downloaded over 26 million times in 2020. Chemical Reviews remains the highest-impact journal in the Chemistry, Multidisciplinary category, with a Journal Impact Factor™ of 60.622, over 220,000 citations and more than 6.3 million downloads.

Reflecting their influence and impact across all fields of chemistry, many of ACS’ topical journals received their highest ever Journal Impact Factor™ and record numbers of citations in 2020. ACS Nano received a Journal Impact Factor™ of 15.881 and saw nearly 200,000 citations and over 8 million downloads. Accounts of Chemical Research achieved a Journal Impact Factor™ of 22.384. The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry was once again the most-cited journal in the Agriculture, Multidisciplinary category with 144,020 total citations. With 156,738 citations, Analytical Chemistry was again the most-cited journal in the Chemistry, Analytical category. Inorganic Chemistry once again led the Chemistry, Inorganic & Nuclear category with 103,059 citations, and the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry remained the most-cited journal in the category of Chemistry, Medicinal with 85,946 citations. Crystal Growth & Design remained the most-cited journal in the Crystallography category with 33,973 citations; Organic Letters remained the most-cited in the Chemistry, Organic category with 107,262 citations; and Macromolecules maintained its position as the most-cited journal in the Polymer Science category with 111,371 citations. Environmental Science & Technology remained the most-cited journal in both the Engineering, Environmental and Environmental Sciences categories, with a record 217,954 citations, outpacing competitor journals.

ACS’ open access journals continued to grow in prominence. Established in 2015, ACS Central Science, ACS’ first fully open access journal, achieved a Journal Impact Factor™ of 14.553 with over 11,000 citations and over 2 million article downloads. ACS Omega’s Journal Impact Factor™ increased to 3.512, outpacing its closest competitor, RSC Advances, and the open access journal had over 23,000 citations, more than double the previous year. ACS recently expanded its open access journal portfolio, introducing JACS Au in 2020 and the ACS Au suite of journals in 2021. The growth in prominence of its existing open access portfolio is a promising development as ACS evolves to meet the needs of the growing community of authors who want or need to publish in completely open access journals.

To support additional applied materials research, ACS expanded its journal portfolio in this area, and several of these journals have received their first Journal Impact Factor™. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces has retained its prominence in the field, with a Journal Impact Factor™ of 9.229 and 274,703 citations. Articles from the journal were downloaded more than 10.4 million times in 2020. ACS Applied Energy Materials nearly tripled its total citations, ending the year with 12,740. ACS Applied Electronic Materials has received a partial Journal Impact Factor™ of 3.314, ACS Applied Polymer Materials received a partial Journal Impact Factor™ of 4.089, and ACS Applied Nano Materials achieved an inaugural Journal Impact Factor™ of 5.097. In our broader materials portfolio, ACS Materials Letters debuted with a partial Journal Impact Factor™ of 8.312, demonstrating how quickly the journal has gained prominence in its community. The strong performance of these journals secures ACS’ position as a premier venue for materials researchers to publish their work.

This year’s Journal Citation Reports™ has also shown strong gains by many ACS journals that were launched in the past decade. ACS Catalysis, established in 2011, received a Journal Impact Factor™ of 13.084 and over 92,000 citations. ACS Macro Letters, established in 2012, achieved a Journal Impact Factor™ of 6.903 with 13,599 citations, while ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering, established in 2013, received a Journal Impact Factor™ of 8.198 and 62,273 citations, a more than 50% increase from the prior year. ACS Energy Letters, established in 2016, saw its Journal Impact Factor™ rise to 23.101.

“The events of 2020 made even clearer the crucial importance of scientific research to society,” says James Milne, Ph.D., president, ACS Publications Division. “The growing global influence of all our journals has not only further solidified ACS’ reputation as the premier venue for chemistry publishing, but also has shown how we have fulfilled our own mission to advance the chemistry enterprise for the benefit of Earth and all its people.”

More metrics for the journals across our portfolio are available here.

The American Chemical Society (ACS) is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. ACS’ mission is to advance the broader chemistry enterprise and its practitioners for the benefit of Earth and all its people. The Society is a global leader in promoting excellence in science education and providing access to chemistry-related information and research through its multiple research solutions, peer-reviewed journals, scientific conferences, eBooks and weekly news periodical Chemical & Engineering News. ACS journals are among the most cited, most trusted and most read within the scientific literature; however, ACS itself does not conduct chemical research. As a leader in scientific information solutions, its CAS division partners with global innovators to accelerate breakthroughs by curating, connecting and analyzing the world’s scientific knowledge. ACS’ main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

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