- Scientific Electronic Library Online - Scientific Electronic Library Online

    About SciELO

    Criteria for admission and permanence of cientific journals on SciELO collection

    SciELO Criteria: criteria, policy and procedures for admission and permanence of scientific journals in the SciELO collection

    October 2004 Version


    1 Introduction

    This document describes the evaluation criteria adopted by the SciELO Project ( for admission and permanence of scientific journals in the electronic collection.

    These criteria, as well as the policy and procedures for governing their application, were discussed in the Seminar on the Evaluation and Selection Criteria for Scientific Journals, held in April 1999 at FAPESP - The State of São Paulo Research Foundation (, São Paulo, and later approved by FAPESP and BIREME - The Latin American and Caribbean Center on Health Sciences Information (

    As the SciELO Project expands through Latin American countries, it is expected that such criteria will be progressively improved and generalized emerging to establish common criteria for admission and permanence of scientific journals in national and / or regional SciELO collections.


    2 SciELO Criteria Objectives

    SciELO Criteria are defined in the context of the SciELO Project, which is coordinated by FAPESP and BIREME, and also supported by CNPq - Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico ( The general goal of the SciELO Project is to contribute to the development of the national scientific research by improving and expanding its means of dissemination, publication, and evaluation through the intensive use of electronic publishing.

    In the short term, the SciELO Project intends to radically increase the national and international visibility, accessibility and credibility of the Latin American and Caribbean scientific publication, through the integrated publishing of national and regional collections of scientific journals on the Internet. In the long term, the project envisions to increase the impact of the scientific literature from these regions.

    In order to accomplish the SciELO Project objectives, it is essential the improvement of every aspect of the scientific communication in the country, seeking to identify, stimulate, and develop a core collection of scientific journals, in which the quality standards match international leading scientific journal standards. Therefore, the evaluation criteria for journals, as well as the policies and procedures for their application are a fundamental line of action for the SciELO Project.

    Aiming at contributing to the creation and development of the SciELO core collection of scientific journals, the specific goals of the SciELO Criteria include:

    1. providing data for the evaluation of national scientific journals in order to determine their admission to the SciELO collection;
    2. monitoring the performance of the scientific journals included in the SciELO collection in order to determine their permanence in this collection;
    3. producing performance indicators for the SciELO collection as a whole, and for each of its individual journals.

    The SciELO Criteria contents and application will follow the SciELO Project dynamics and, specially, the process of creating and developing the SciELO core collection.


    3 SciELO Consultancy Committee

    Based on the SciELO Criteria, the Consultancy Committee will propose:

    1. the inclusion of new scientific journal titles in the SciELO collection;
    2. the exclusion of scientific journal titles from the SciELO collection;
    3. changes in the evaluation criteria of scientific journals for admission to and permanence in the SciELO collection;
    4. performance indicators for the journals belonging to the SciELO collection to be published regularly;
    5. the definition and enhancement of the Committee's operation, this way enabling the efficient fulfilment of the above goals.

    The Committee will be composed by representatives of the national scientific communication community.


    4 SciELO Collection Scope

    The SciELO collection includes scientific journals which predominantly publish the results of original scientific research, and other original works, which contribute significantly to knowledge in the area covered by the journal. Journals must carry out a peer review process for analysis and approval of submitted contributions.

    Individual journal issues published by SciELO should start from 1997, or from its first issue in the case of journals founded after that year. Journal articles and other works can be published in the English, Portuguese or Spanish languages.

    Journals published by the SciELO collection need not necessarily publish a printed version.


    5 SciELO Criteria for journals admission


    5.1 Criteria for automatic admission in the period 1999-2001

    The SciELO Criteria for admission of new journals will take into consideration previous evaluations. Previous evaluations may have been conducted by governmental and scientific institutions, as well as a number of selected international indexes and databases.

    A journal title will be automatically qualified for admission if it is indexed or abstracted in one of the selected indexes or databases mentioned below, or if it has reached a high performance in the evaluations conducted by governmental and scientific institutions.


    5.1.1 Journals included in international indexes and databases

    Journals which are indexed or abstracted by one of the following international indexes and databases are automatically qualified for initial admission into the SciELO collection:

    - ISI
    - MEDLINE/Index Medicus
    - PsycInfo (APA)

    The Consultancy Committee had sole responsibility for any changes in this list of sources.

    The permanence in the SciELO collection of the journals included in such sources will be determined by performance indicators as stated in item 6.


    5.2 Evaluation criteria for journals admission to the SciELO collection

    When a journal title is not automatically qualified for admission to the SciELO collection, it will be evaluated accordingly to the following indicators:


    5.2.1 Scientific content

    Journals must predominantly publish the results of original scientific research, and other original works, which contribute significantly to knowledge in the area covered by the journal. When needed, the SciELO Consultancy Committee will request the judgement of peers to confirm the predominance of original contributions.


    5.2.2 Peer review

    Evaluation and approval of submitted contributions must be performed by peers. The journal editor should expressly specify the peer review process it applies for the approval of contributions. Once a journal is admitted to the SciELO collection the peer review process should be documented. The indication of the main dates of the process, including receipt and acceptance dates of a contribution will be mandatory.


    5.2.3 Editorial board

    The constitution of a journal's editorial board must be public. Its members should be renowned specialists from the country and abroad. Journal will not be admitted if the editorial board members are all from a specific institution, and which most of the articles come from a particular institution or geographical region, will not be admitted.


    5.2.4 Frequency

    Frequency is an indicator which depends on the journal subject area. Frequency indicates the scientific literature flow of a specific area covered by a journal. It is also an indicator related to the communication opportunity and speed.

    According to broad subject areas, the following table points out the minimum and the desirable frequency, as well as the minimum and the desirable number of articles per year a journal is expected to present:



    Number of articles per year





    Agricultural and Exact Sciences
    three times a year



    Life Sciences



    Social Sciences and Humanities
    three times a year




    5.2.5 Lifetime

    To be considered for evaluation, a journal must have published at least four issues.


    5.2.6 Timeliness of publication

    A journal must be publishing on time according to its stated frequency.


    5.2.7 Article titles, abstracts, and keywords in English

    Journal articles must provide English translations of titles, abstracts, and keywords, in the case English is not the original language of the article.


    5.2.8 Standardization

    The journal must specify which standards it follows for editorial presentation of periodicals and articles, as well as for document presentation, including bibliographical references, etc. SciELO will note whether or not the journal follows stated standards.


    5.2.9 Authors affiliation

    The papers must inform about authors affiliation, including place and institution of origin.


    5.3 Admission process report

    Admission of a journal to the SciELO collection must be carried out only after a favourable report by the SciELO Consultancy Committee. When needed, the Committee will request the judgement of peers to support its decisions.

    SciELO National Unit will contribute to the Committee's work providing all needed information and documentation. Only those journals following the recommendations of itens 5.2.1. to 5.2.9 will be analised by the Consultancy Committee.

    The Committee's report may include recommendations for journal improvements and changes, which should be followed within the period stated by the same report.


    6 Performance evaluation criteria for journals permanence in the SciELO collection

    All indicators applied in the admission process of journal titles to the SciELO collection will also be applied to evaluate their permanence in the collection. Fulfillment of the Committee's recommendations for journal improvements should be considered as an additional indicator of the journal’s permanence in the collection.

    The following indicators are associated with a journal performance within SciELO collection, and will be used to justify its permanence in such a collection:


    6.1 Timeliness of electronic file delivering to SciELO Unit

    Timeliness of files containing journal articles and other works of delivery is measured by an issue's file arrival at the SciELO Unit. File delivering should rigorously follow the stated frequency of a journal. SciELO Unit will report any delay in file delivering.

    Journals that appear chronically late will be evaluated by the SciELO Consultancy Committee, and will be subject to exclusion from the SciELO collection.


    6.2 Journal usage

    Journal usage is measured monthly by the number of times it is accessed, or viewed online. When a journal usage is consistently low and / or tends to decrease when compared to other journals of the same discipline, its permanence in the collection will be evaluated by the SciELO Consultancy Committee. The Committee will then suggest a study to find out the reasons and feasible solutions for such a poor usage, or recommend the journal [for] exclusion from the SciELO collection.


    6.3 Impact factor

    The frequency with which a journal has been cited in a certain year is based on citation analysis. The impact factor of a specific journal will be considered in relation to the impact factor of other journals within similar fields.

    Increases of the impact factor or the maintenance of the same average of related journals will be considered a productive performance, which assures the permanence of a journal in the SciELO collection.


    7 Exclusion process report

    Exclusion of a journal from the SciELO collection will be carried out only after a decision has been reported by the SciELO Consultancy Committee.


    8 Judgement appeals

    Journal editors have the right to appeal against judgements of the SciELO Consultancy Committee at any time, in relation to both admission and exclusion processes. Appeals will be analysed by the Committee, which may evaluate a journal once more. The Committee's report will be sent to the editor.


    9 Readmission process

    Excluded journals from the SciELO collection can be readmitted, provided that they fulfil all admission and permanence criteria of SciELO. Readmissions will be analysed by the SciELO Consultancy Committee.

    Readmission of a journal will not be carried out immediately after it has been excluded from the SciELO collection. A journal will be re-evaluated only if it is able to fulfil all criteria for at least four consecutive issues or one year.

    SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online FAPESP - CAPES - CNPq - BIREME - FapUNIFESP 

    Av. Onze de Junho, 269 - Vila Clementino 04041-050 São Paulo SP - Brasil

    Tel.: (55 11) 5083-3639 - Email:

    • FAPESP
    • CAPES
    • CNPq
    • Biblioteca Virtual em Saúde
    • Organização     Pan-Americana da Saúde
    • FapUNIFESP