Scientometrics

, Volume 106, Issue 1, pp 213–228 | Cite as

The journal coverage of Web of Science and Scopus: a comparative analysis

Article

Abstract

Bibliometric methods are used in multiple fields for a variety of purposes, namely for research evaluation. Most bibliometric analyses have in common their data sources: Thomson Reuters’ Web of Science (WoS) and Elsevier’s Scopus. The objective of this research is to describe the journal coverage of those two databases and to assess whether some field, publishing country and language are over or underrepresented. To do this we compared the coverage of active scholarly journals in WoS (13,605 journals) and Scopus (20,346 journals) with Ulrich’s extensive periodical directory (63,013 journals). Results indicate that the use of either WoS or Scopus for research evaluation may introduce biases that favor Natural Sciences and Engineering as well as Biomedical Research to the detriment of Social Sciences and Arts and Humanities. Similarly, English-language journals are overrepresented to the detriment of other languages. While both databases share these biases, their coverage differs substantially. As a consequence, the results of bibliometric analyses may vary depending on the database used. These results imply that in the context of comparative research evaluation, WoS and Scopus should be used with caution, especially when comparing different fields, institutions, countries or languages. The bibliometric community should continue its efforts to develop methods and indicators that include scientific output that are not covered in WoS or Scopus, such as field-specific and national citation indexes.

Keywords

Bibliometrics Citation indexes Scopus Web of Science Research evaluation 

References

  1. Abrizah, A., Zainab, A. N., Kiran, K., & Raj, R. G. (2012). LIS journals scientific impact and subject categorization: A comparison between Web of Science and Scopus. Scientometrics, 94(2), 721–740. doi:10.1007/s11192-012-0813-7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Archambault, É., Campbell, D., Gingras, Y., & Larivière, V. (2009). Comparing bibliometric statistics obtained from the Web of Science and Scopus. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 60(7), 1320–1326. doi:10.1002/asi.21062.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Archambault, É., Vignola-Gagné, É., Côté, G., Larivière, V., & Gingras, Y. (2006). Benchmarking scientific output in the social sciences and humanities: The limits of existing databases. Scientometrics, 68(3), 329–342.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Barnett, P., & Lascar, C. (2012). Comparing unique title coverage of Web of Science and Scopus in Earth and atmospheric sciences. Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship. doi:10.5062/F4W37T8C.Google Scholar
  5. Clermont, M., & Dyckhoff, H. (2012). Coverage of business administration literature in Google Scholar: Analysis and comparison with Econbiz, Scopus and Web of Science (SSRN Scholarly Paper No. ID 2016850). Rochester, NY: Social Science Research Network. Retrieved from http://papers.ssrn.com/abstract=2016850
  6. De Groote, S. L., & Raszewski, R. (2012). Coverage of Google Scholar, Scopus, and Web of Science: A case study of the h-index in nursing. Nursing Outlook, 60(6), 391–400. doi:10.1016/j.outlook.2012.04.007.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Franceschet, M. (2009). A comparison of bibliometric indicators for computer science scholars and journals on Web of Science and Google Scholar. Scientometrics, 83(1), 243–258. doi:10.1007/s11192-009-0021-2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Gavel, Y., & Iselid, L. (2008). Web of Science and Scopus: A journal title overlap study. Online Information Review, 32(1), 8–21. doi:10.1108/14684520810865958.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Gingras, Y. (2014). Les dérives de l’évaluation de la recherche: du bon usage de la bibliométrie. Paris: Raisons d’agir.Google Scholar
  10. Glänzel, W., & Schoepflin, U. (1999). A bibliometric study of reference literature in the sciences and social sciences. Information Processing and Management, 35(1), 31–44. doi:10.1016/S0306-4573(98)00028-4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Hicks, D., & Wang, J. (2011). Coverage and overlap of the new social sciences and humanities journal lists. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 62(2), 284–294. doi:10.1002/asi.21458.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Knorr-Cetina, K. D. (1991). Epistemic cultures: Forms of reason in science. History of Political Economy, 23(1), 105–122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Kousha, K., & Thelwall, M. (2007). Sources of Google Scholar citations outside the Science Citation Index: A comparison between four science disciplines. Scientometrics, 74(2), 273–294. doi:10.1007/s11192-008-0217-x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Larivière, V., Archambault, É., Gingras, Y., & Vignola-Gagné, É. (2006). The place of serials in referencing practices: Comparing natural sciences and engineering with social sciences and humanities. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 57(8), 997–1004. doi:10.1002/asi.20349.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Larivière, V., Haustein, S., & Mongeon, P. (2015). The oligopoly of academic publishers in the digital era. PLoS ONE, 10(6), e0127502. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0127502.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. López-Illescas, C., de Moya-Anegón, F., & Moed, H. F. (2008). Coverage and citation impact of oncological journals in the Web of Science and Scopus. Journal of Informetrics, 2(4), 304–316. doi:10.1016/j.joi.2008.08.001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Meho, L. I., & Yang, K. (2007). Impact of data sources on citation counts and rankings of LIS faculty: Web of Science versus Scopus and Google Scholar. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 58(13), 2105–2125. doi:10.1002/asi.20677.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Mikki, S. (2009). Comparing Google Scholar and ISI Web of Science for earth sciences. Scientometrics, 82(2), 321–331. doi:10.1007/s11192-009-0038-6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Mingers, J., & Lipitakis, E. A. E. C. G. (2010). Counting the citations: A comparison of Web of Science and Google Scholar in the field of business and management. Scientometrics, 85(2), 613–625. doi:10.1007/s11192-010-0270-0.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. National Science Foundation. (2006). Science and engineering indicators, chapter 5: Academic research and development. Data and terminology. Retrieved from http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/seind06/c5/c5s3.htm#sb1
  21. Nederhof, A. J. (2006). Bibliometric monitoring of research performance in the social sciences and the humanities: A review. Scientometrics, 66(1), 81–100. doi:10.1007/s11192-006-0007-2.MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Osca-Lluch, J., Miguel, S., González, C., Peñaranda-Ortega, M., & Quiñones-Vidal, E. (2013). Cobertura y solapamiento de Web of Science y Scopus en el análisis de la actividad científica española en psicología. Anales de Psicología. doi:10.6018/analesps.29.3.154911.Google Scholar
  23. Santa, S., & Herrero-Solana, V. (2010). Cobertura de la ciencia de América Latina y el Caribe en Scopus vs Web of Science. Investigación Bibliotecológica24(52), 13–27.Google Scholar
  24. van Leeuwen, T. N., Moed, H. F., Tijssen, R. J. W., Visser, M. S., & van Raan, A. F. J. (2001). Language biases in the coverage of the Science Citation Index and its consequences for international comparisons of national research performance. Scientometrics, 51(1), 335–346. doi:10.1023/A:1010549719484.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Wouters, P. (2006). Aux origines de la scientométrie: La naissance du Science Citation Index. Actes de La Recherche En Sciences Sociales, 4(164), 10–21. doi:10.3917/arss.164.0011.Google Scholar
  26. Wouters, P., & Costas, R. (2012). Users, narcissism and controlTracking the impact of scholarly publications in the 21st century. Report for the Surf Foundation.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.École de bibliothéconomie et des sciences de l’informationUniversité de MontréalMontréalCanada

Personalised recommendations