The journal, Oncotarget, is not currently being indexed in MEDLINE (but is still being archived by PubMed)

  • Qian-Chen Yong
  • September 7, 2017

Updated 20th Sept 2017: Part of this blog has been edited and changed due to the erroneous information, specifically, you can still search and find articles published in OncoTarget because it will be continued to be archived in PubMed. We also removed the name of the journal “Oncotarget” from the paragraph “There are various reason that cause Oncotarget being deselected from MEDLINE, including ….. according to NCBI User Services”, to avoid potential defamatory suggestion.


We just confirm the news about Oncotarget is no longer indexed in MEDLINE, however articles published in Oncotarget can still be searched and found in PubMed, one of the most frequently used search engine for references and abstracts on life sciences and biomedical topics, but you will need to wait until it is archived by PubMed.


Oncotarget is an open-access journal that first started out as journal that focused on oncology research. Now they are accepting papers on many life science related topics, including neuroscience, endocrinology, cardiology and more. In addition, they also increase the publication frequency to two issues per week. This particular journal has become very popular among cancer research scientists due to its relatively high impact factor – 5.168 (the highest impact factor it has ever achieved, so far, was 6.636. To our knowledge, among the journals deselected from MEDLINE, Oncotarget has the highest impact factor.


We have communicated with User Services Department of National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI, who is managing PubMed) and confirmed that Oncotarget is indeed no longer indexed in MEDLINE. According to NCBI, Oncotarget was first indexed in MEDLINE since 2010.


There are various reasons that cause a journal being deselected from MEDLINE, including

extremely late publication patterns, major changes in the scientific quality or editorial process, and changes in ownership or publishers. When a MEDLINE journal has been deselected, the status of the journal becomes “not currently indexed”.

, according to NCBI User Services. However, please note that none of these reasons were directly confirmed by NCBI.


To know more about whether a journal is indexed in MEDLINE, just use the following links to find journals that is not indexed in MEDLINE. To find one particular journal, just search “all[filter] NOT currentlyindexed[all] AND xxxx” in “NLM Catalog” where xxxx is the name of the journal you are looking for. For example:

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9 responses to “The journal, Oncotarget, is not currently being indexed in MEDLINE (but is still being archived by PubMed)”

  1. For what it’s worth, not being indexed in Medline does not mean the journal will not be searchable via PubMed. As long as the journal still deposits to PMC, all of its content will be available via PubMed a couple of weeks after the deposit is made. As an example, volume 8 issue 32 of Oncotarget is available via PubMed, despite the last issue indexed in Medline being volume 8 issue 30.

  2. This Journal WAS a good one but now is accepting very kind of articles and publishes all!
    The level of publications and standard of review is lower that Pubmed and mostly similar to SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, another terrible Journal (but of Nature family).
    If Oncotarget has problems why not Scientific Reports who asks explicitly to ACCEPT although the opinion is to Reject?

    • Indeed, I have read many forums discussing the similarity of Oncotarget and Scientific Reports. But of course, like you have pointed out, it belongs to Nature family, which could make a difference.

  3. What is the fault of researchers / authors who submitted and got published their good manuscripts prepared after very hard works of research experiments considering the Impact Factor and indexing of the Oncotarget journal, and now suddenly the value of their research / manuscript has become “Nil” or “Zero” after being removed from Pubmed and Impact Factor listing??

    Such decisions ruins the hard works and faith of Impact Factor deciding authorities.


    • Agree, except that Oncotarget can still be searched through PubMed; we are not sure about Impact Factor listing though. In addition, based on some of the feedback we received from our readers, Scientific Reports is also blacklisted by some institutions for consideration of promotions of scientists/professors.

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