History of the Thai-Journal Citation Index (TCI) Centre

The Thai-Journal Citation Index Centre, or TCI, was established after a completion of a research project entitled “Assessment of Citation Impact Factor Indexes for Thai Academic Journals” which was financially supported by King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Thonburi (KMITT) in 2001. The research project was carried out by Professor Dr. Narongrit Sombatsompop, the founder of the TCI, and his colleagues (Dr. Nongyao Premkamolnetr, Ms.Preeyanuch Ratchatahirun, Ms. Wachiraporn  Surathanaskul and Mr. Teerasak Markpin). The development of the TCI could be divided into 4 phases as follows.

TCI #1 (July 2001 –  February 2002): open a “drawer” of Thai journals

The TCI Centre started from a curiosity of the TCI Head, Prof Dr. Narongrit Sombatsomopop, a professor in Materials Technology of King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi (KMUTT), when he received the Young Scientist Awards from the Foundation for the Promotion of Science and Technology under the Patronage of His Majesty where he had a chance to meet with executives of the Thailand Research Fund (TRF) in 2000. The TRF executives, including Prof.Dr. Vicharn Panit, Prof.Dr. Wichai Boonseang, Prof.Dr. Yodhathai Thebtaranonth, Prof.Dr. Yongyuth Yuthavong, Prof.Dr. M.R. Jisnuson Svasti, et al, mentioned that now Prof. Dr. Narongrit Sombatsompop won the Awards, the coming articles should publish only in journals that had high impact factor. Prof Dr. Narongrit Sombatsompop was very interested in learning more about the impact factor in terms of, for example, what it was, how to produce it, how it affected quality of articles, and was the Thai journals had any impact factors? Therefore, he set up a research team to carry out this particular research project and wrote a proposal, entitled “Assessment of Citation Impact Factor Indexes for Thai Academic Journals” asking for funding from KMUTT in 2001.

The main objective of the research project was to produce the Thai Journal Impact Factor (JIF), the Journal Immediacy Index (J-II), and the Cited Half-Life of Thai journals by using the same calculation methods as those introduced by the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI). This was the first time in Thailand to have systematic method for calculating the impact factors for Thai academic journals. The sampling group was 68 academic journals published during year 1996-2000. All required information, such as journal titles, articles, references in each article, were gathered and calculated manually. The research found that the average JIF was 0.069 which implied that a Thai article had a chance to be cited only 0.069 times and that the Thai J-II was only 0.063 which was very low. It, therefore, could be concluded that most Thai articles were seldom cited or used. This research findings triggered research institutes and universities to review the cost effectiveness of the investment in producing national journals and, at the same time, for decision making if more journals were needed. The revealing of the research findings could be mentioned as opening the drawer to show the public the journal citation records for the first time in Thailand which in turn encouraging the movement for better quality.

TCI #2 (Februry 2002 – June 2004): set up a “Gate-way” for Thai journal articles

On December 17, 2001 the research team, led by Prof.Dr. Narongrit Sombatsompop and Prof.Dr. Somchai Chucheepsakul, Vice President of KMUTT were invited to TRF to present the research findings to the TRF scholarly committee for possible funding. After the presentation, the TRF agreed to provide financial support for expanding the sample groups and for developing a database to store journal information and to calculate the JIF for more accurate results. The research project entitled “A Study of Journal Impact Factor of Scholarly Journals in Thailand” was then proposed and received financial support from the TRF in 2002.

The objectives of the research project were to create a gate-way for Thai articles in the national journals to be easily accessed, to report the citations and the JIF of the Thai journals and to seek ways to increase quality of the dissemination process of the research findings in Thailand.  The research team gathered information from 87 Thai academic journal titles published during 1996-2001 and recorded the general information and the citations of each journal  into an in-house database for calculation.  It was found that there were only 13 journal titles received JIF consecutively with the JIF average of 0.084, meaning that one article had a chance to be cited for 8.4%. In addition, the research team also studied journal management issue of 25 journals and found that the average cost for running an academic journal in Thailand during 1999-2001 was 198,034 Baht/year and that the average published issue was 3.52 issues/journal/year. After revealing this information, the Thai journal impact factor and the related issues became talk of the town since then.

On March 20, 2003, the TRF and the TCI  jointly organized a seminar on “Journal Impact Factor for Thai Scholarly Journals and Brain-storming for journal quality development” at Faculty of Science, Mahidol University. This was the first seminar in Thailand focusing on quality improvement of the Thai journals.  The objectives of the seminar were to report the Thai journal impact factor values and to seek public opinion on how to improve the scholarly communication among Thai scholars. There were 182 editors, university executives and researchers attended the seminar.  The speakers were university executive boards, for example, Prof. Dr. Vichan Panich, Prof. Dr. Yongyut Yuthavong, Prof. Dr. M.R. Jisnuson Svasti, Prof. Dr. Narongrit Sombatsompop, moderated by Prof. Dr. Yodhathai Thebtaranonth. There were interesting points gained from the seminar which were  – the participants suggested the research team to organize a seminar like this on a regular basis to promote quality development of the Thai journals  and  Editor’s workshop and Author’s Workshop should also be orgnaised.

TCI #3 (July 2004 – April 2008): Improve the “Gate-way” to be more effectiveness

After the seminar at Faculty of Science on March 20, 2003, Asst. Prof. Wuttipong Techadamrongsin, Deputy Director of the TRF had a discussion with Dr. Krissanapong Kirtikara, President of the KMUTT and Pro. Dr. Narongrit Sombatsompop on possibility of setting up a Thai-Journal Citation Index Centre as a central unit for promoting the quality development of Thai academic journals as well as reporting relevant data on Thai academic journals both  quantitative and qualitative aspects.  In this regard, the TRF would provide financial support for the establishment of the Centre whereas KMUTT would provide employment positions for the researchers as well as the office.

On July 1, 2004, the TRF approved a proposal entitled “Development of Thai Scholarly Journal Database” in which aimed to create an online citation database system and also to set up the Thai-Journal Citation Index Centre (TCI).  The TCI database system was in-house-developed to store Thai journal information, the articles information and their citations since then.  In addition, journal selection criteria and working manual/guidelines were identified and produced.  Four months later, on November 26, 2004, the TCI Centre organized the “2nd TCI Symposium on Thai Scholarly Journals : Creating a gateway for articles in Thai journals” at the Asia Hotel, Bangkok. The objective of the seminar was to announce to the public regarding the setting up of the TCI and its roles, journal selection criteria for the TCI and agreement and guidelines for data recording in the new database. There were 119 participants, including editors and editorial board members, librarians, lecturers, researchers and university executives, attended the seminar.  At the end of the seminar, the participants suggested TCI to develop an online, easy access database system for retrieval bibliographic records of Thai journal articles and their citations. They also agreed  and approved the criteria for selecting S&T journals for the TCI

Photos taken at the seminar on November 26, 2004 at the Asia Hotel, Bangkok.

During the past 3 years of setting up the TCI Centre under the research project entitled “Development of Thai Scholarly Journal Database”, there were 166 S&T journals, published during year 2001-2006, indexed in the TCI database. There were 21,184 articles indexed on the TCI database which were cited 9,555 times, or 0.451 time/article. The average Journal Impact Factor, the Journal Immediacy Index, and the Cited Half-Life of the 166 Thai journals in the TCI during 2002-2005 were 0.060, 0.044, and 5.2 years respectively. In addition, it was found that the journal impact factor value was positively changed both in the value itself and the number of journals that received the citations.

The existing of the TCI Centre had created a number of impacts for the country, for example, an easy access to the bibliographic data of Thai journal articles and their citations which affected the high usage of research outputs, and the data on research performance derived from the TCI was used in various ways, e.g. for policy makers related to journal quality, for research performance evaluation, and for possible allocating funding for running high quality journals.

As most journals in TCI related to S&T areas, the Office of the Higher Education Commission (OHEC) and TRF therefore jointly allocated funding for the TCI to carry out a research project entitled “Development of Thai Scholarly Journal Database : Social Science areas”, to cover more journals in Humanities and Social Sciences fields. The TCI therefore invited the Library of Thammasat University (TU), leading by Ms Srichan Chancheewa, the Library Director, and her team to help with indexing social sciences journals. Currently, TCI has been run by 2 teams, KMUTT and TU teams. KMUTT would take responsible for indexing S&T journals whereas TU would take responsible for indexing humanities and social science journals. The work included gathering and evaluating academic journals against the set criteria, recording bibliographic information and the citations into the TCI database system, storing printed version of all journals, verifying input data, calculating the journal impact factors and making announcement to the public.

Journal Impact Factors of
Thai Journals indexed in the TCI during 2002-2007



TCI team (a) KMUTT team for S&T journals and (b) TU team for Social Science journals

TCI #4 (May 2008 – present): create an “International gate way”

After the past 4 years  running the TCI Centre, we had learnt that most Thai journals were not up to international standard yet, particularly on the journal management issues, such as  the format and layout, the references and the timeliness. It was interesting to learn that some Thai journals, e.g. Southeast Asian Journal of Tropical Medicine & Public Health, received a number of citations from other international journals, but not those from the Thai ones. In addition, Thai journals had low journal impact factor and only 15 journals received JIF consecutively. It research also revealed  that the citations among Thai journals were mainly self-citations.

Taking all these findings into account, the TCI, KMUTT, TU, OHEC, and TRF  jointly organised the “3rd Symposium on Thai Scholarly Journals : Gateway development” on August 15, 2008 at the Maruay Garden Hotel, Bangkok to report the current status of the Thai journals and to create awareness of the importance of academic journals for Thai scholarly development as well as to provide space for editors and editorial board members to discuss and exchange ideas on how to improve quality of  Thai journals. There were 189 editors and editorial board members attended the seminar. The program of the seminar dedicated to journal quality development and how to improve the Thai journal quality. The outcomes derived from the seminar were – the participants wanted the TCI to organize the seminar like this annually so that the editors could discuss and share ideas and experiences regarding the current status of Thai journals and  how to improve the journal quality. They also suggested the TCI to improve the search and display system to be more effectively and to develop linkage between the author database and the subject area of expertise for reviewer selection purpose.

Photos taken at the 3rd TCI Seminar

From the above activities, it could be clearly seen that there were a number of parties taking part and be involved in developing the Thai journals quality up to international standard, such as the Thailand Research Fund (TRF), the Office of the Higher Education Commission (OHEC), the Thai-Journal Citation Index Centre (TCI) and all involved editors and editorial board members. It was noted that there were also some Thai journals already indexed in Scopus and Thomson Reuters’ databases which supporting wider and easy access to the Thai articles and their citations and promoting Thai research activities to international level.

One mission of the TCI is to promote and support quality development of the Thai journals, therefore, the TCI, the TRF, the OHEC, KMUTT, TU and Elsevier jointly organized the “4th TCI Symposium on Thai Scholarly Journals: Collaborative partnership for enhancing international gateway” on August 20-21, 2009 at the Century Park Hotel, Bangkok.  Elsevier provided partly financial support and speakers on Scopus journal selection criteria, the Scopus Content Selection and Advisory Board : CSAB)  and e-journal management to the 210 participants who were editors, editorial team, researchers, and university executives from Thailand, Indonesia and Taiwan. The initiative of Local Board for Thailand was highlighted. The local board for Thailand comprised 20 professors, nominated by the TRF,  in various fields.  The Local Board took responsible for reviewing Thai academic journals before submitting to be inclusion in the Scopus.  On the second day of the seminar, the participants were brainstorming on “Perspectives of Thai researchers on publishing in Thai journals” and shared experiences and lesson learned on “How to improve Thai journals to meet with international standard” by 5 successful editors and researchers.

The joint project between the TCI and Elsevier was one way to create “International gate way” for Thai journals.

Photos taken on the 4th Symposium on Thai Scholarly Journals

On December 23, 2009, 6 delegates from Ministry of Higher Education Malaysia, led by Prof. Dr. Abu Bakar Salleh, Deputy Vice Chancellor of Research and Innovation, Universiti Putra Malaysia,  paid a visit to TCI to learn and discuss on how to set up the successful TCI centre as well as challenging issues. The delegation was welcomed by Asst Prof Wuthipong Techadamrongsin, TRF Deputy Director, Prof Dr Narongrit Sombatsompop, TCI Head, Dr Nongyao Premkamolnetr and the TCI team. It was expected that the ideas and experiences on how to run the TCI would help Malaysia to improve the Malaysia Citation Index to be more effectively and for further collaboration.

Photos taken on the TCI visit by the delegation from Ministry of Higher Education Malaysia