The Thomson Reuters evaluation process is unique in that our editors have a wealth of citation data available to them. The importance of interpreting and understanding these data correctly cannot be emphasized too strongly. using quantitative citation data to measure impact is meaningful only in the context of journals in the same general discipline.
For example, smaller fields like crystallography do not generate as many articles or citations as do larger fields such as biotechnology or genetics. Likewise, in some areas, particularly in the arts and humanities, it may take a relatively long time for an article to attract a meaningful number of citations.
But in other areas, such as the life sciences, it is not unusual for citations to accrue rapidly and peak after two or three years. These facts must be taken into consideration if citation data are to be used correctly.