, Volume 74, Issue 2, pp 273–294

Sources of Google Scholar citations outside the Science Citation Index: A comparison between four science disciplines

Special-Session Papers Presented at the 9th International Conference on Science and Technology Indicators

DOI: 10.1007/s11192-008-0217-x

Cite this article as:
Kousha, K. & Thelwall, M. Scientometrics (2008) 74: 273. doi:10.1007/s11192-008-0217-x


For practical reasons, bibliographic databases can only contain a subset of the scientific literature. The ISI citation databases are designed to cover the highest impact scientific research journals as well as a few other sources chosen by the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI). Google Scholar also contains citation information, but includes a less quality controlled collection of publications from different types of web documents. We define Google Scholar unique citations as those retrieved by Google Scholar which are not in the ISI database. We took a sample of 882 articles from 39 open access ISI-indexed journals in 2001 from biology, chemistry, physics and computing and classified the type, language, publication year and accessibility of the Google Scholar unique citing sources. The majority of Google Scholar unique citations (70%) were from full-text sources and there were large disciplinary differences between types of citing documents, suggesting that a wide range of non-ISI citing sources, especially from non-journal documents, are accessible by Google Scholar. This might be considered to be an advantage of Google Scholar, since it could be useful for citation tracking in a wider range of open access scholarly documents and to give a broader type of citation impact. An important corollary from our study is that Google Scholar’s wider coverage of Open Access (OA) web documents is likely to give a boost to the impact of OA research and the OA movement.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Computing and Information TechnologyUniversity of WolverhamptonWolverhamptonUK
  2. 2.Department of Library and Information ScienceUniversity of TehranTehranIran

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