Vegetation Classification and Survey (VCS): now included in the Web of Science Core Edition

Prepared by Jürgen Dengler (on behalf of the VCS Chief Editors)

Logo of Clarivate, the company that provides the Web of Science Core Edition, in which Vegetation Classification and Survey has just been accepted

Vegetation Classification and Survey (VCS) was informed about its positive evaluation by the Web of Science on 9 April 2024. On 25 May 2024, VCS then was physically added to the Web of Science Core Edition, including the back issues since Volume 1 (2020). Many thanks to IAVS as owner and Pensoft as publisher, who made this success story possible. However, most of all, this early inclusion into the Web of Science Core Edition is due to the good articles of our authors and the great volunteer service our Associate Editors, Guest Editors, Linguistic Editors, Editorial Review Board members, and other reviewers did and do for VCS.

We thus anticipate that in the course of June 2024, VCS will receive its first Journal Impact Factor (JIF). Already in 2022 VCS had been included in the Scopus database and got its first CiteScore of 2.0 in June 2023. Currently, the CiteScoreTracker is at 2.5, so we anticipate that the new CiteScore to be released in a few days will be around that value. In the annual editorial of VCS, Dengler et al. (2024) showed that the normalized citation rate of VCS compared to other journals has substantially improved over the last few years (Fig. 2). In our founding year 2020, we started at the same level as Phytocoenologia and Tuexenia, both of which by 2023 were left far behind (Fig. 2). The VCS articles of 2023 were on average even better cited than those in Applied Vegetation Science of the same year and had reached about the same level as Journal of Vegetation Science and Biodiversity and Conservation (Fig. 2). Since both the CiteScore and the Journal Impact Factor are based on the citation impact of articles published several years back, Dengler et al. (2024) could calculate the expected trajectory of the citation metrics of VCS in the next years. This projection suggests that the CiteScore 2023 (published in June 2024) will be ca. 2.4, the one for 2024 ca. 3.2 and the one for 2025 ca. 7.5. For the JIF, the projections are ca. 1.1 for the version of 2023 (published in June 2024), ca. 1.6 for 2024 and ca. 4.3 for 2025. If VCS due to its inclusion into the Web of Science VCS should be better known and in consequence more people read and cite the articles, the real trajectories might even be above the projected ones. It is also in your hands!

Development of the normalized citation rate of the articles published in specific years in Vegetation Classification and Survey compared to a selection of 29 other ecological journals. A normalized citation rate of 1 means that the articles of the respective journal are on average cited as frequently as the average of all articles in the 30 journals in that year. For readability only nine journals are shown. The underlying data were retrieved from the Scopus database on 8 January 2024. Full details can be found in Dengler et al. (2024)

To guide you to the hitherto most influential articles in VCS, we selected six that according to the Field-Weighted Citation Impact (FWCI) of the Scopus database (as of 25 May 2024) were cited at least twice as much as expected for average articles in the subject field given their age (an FWCI of 1 means that an article is cited just as often as an average article in the field):

  • Dengler et al. (2023) Ecological Indicator Values for Europe (EIVE) 1.0: FWCI = 17.66
  • Chakkour et al. (2023) Plant diversity in traditional agroecosystems of North Morocco: FWCI = 3.21
  • Loidi et al. (2022) Climatic definitions of the world’s terrestrial biomes. FWCI = 3.15
  • Luebert & Pliscoff (2022) The vegetation of Chile and the EcoVeg approach in the context of the International Vegetation Classification project: FWCI = 2.58
  • Zeballos et al. (2020) The lowland seasonally dry subtropical forests in central Argentina: vegetation types and a call for conservation: FWCI = 2.31
  • Nowak et al. (2020) Classification of tall-forb vegetation in the Pamir-Alai and western Tian Shan Mountains (Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, Middle Asia): FWCI = 2.18

We hope that with the inclusion into the Web of Science Core Edition and the increasing CiteScore, more authors than before will send their good articles in the fields of vegetation classification and ecoinformatics to VCS. VCS has several other attractive features as it is gold open access, allows longer articles than the standard ones of 8–20 pages, provided the content justifies the length, and offers linguistic editing by native speaking ecologists free of charge once an article is accepted. VCS has Permanent Sections on “Ecoinformatics” and “Phytosociological Nomenclature” and regularly organises Special Sections together with IAVS Working Groups and Regional Sections (see https://vcs.pensoft.net/collections). Moreover, VCS is the exclusive publication venue for Nomenclatural Proposals (in collaboration with the Group on Phytosociological Nomenclature, GPN) and Long and Short Database Reports (in collaboration with the Global Index of Vegetation-Plot Databases, GIVD).

As a gold open access journal, VCS has to charge article processing charges (APCs) from the authors. However, they are still extremely low for IAVS members, with 300 EUR for first authors from higher-income countries and currently 0 EUR for first authors from medium- and low-income countries. Thus, you are encouraged to submit your manuscripts still in 2024 when these extremely low APCs apply as they certainly will be increased for submissions in following years, given that VCS is now also in the Web of Science. Last but not least, those IAVS members who have access to APC funding from their institution or grant are encouraged to pay the non-reduced APCs to allow authors without access to such funds to publish at non-prohibitive costs.

Last but not least, with the growing number of submissions, we also need more competent reviewers and Linguistic Editors. If you have a deep interest in vegetation classification or ecoinformatics of vegetation and would like to join the Editorial Review Board of VCS, you are invited to send an e-mail application to Jürgen Dengler (see below) until 31 October 2024. Applications by young scientists, women and scientists from outside Europe are particularly welcome. Likewise native speakers with good skills in scientific writing are invited to apply to become a Linguistic Editor. If there are convincing applications, we will invite some of them to the Editorial Review Board and the team of Linguistic Editors, respectively, when we augment these next time at the end of this year. The Editorial Review Board members are expected to do two to four qualitative and timely reviews per year and, after good performance, might be promoted to Associate Editors. Linguistic Editors should edit about three to six articles per year and are given in the imprint of the papers they edited.

We look forward to your submissions of good manuscripts as well as your applications to join the Editorial Board!

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