, Volume 106, Issue 2, pp 787–804 | Cite as

Google Scholar, Scopus and the Web of Science: a longitudinal and cross-disciplinary comparison

  • Anne-Wil HarzingEmail author
  • Satu Alakangas


This article aims to provide a systematic and comprehensive comparison of the coverage of the three major bibliometric databases: Google Scholar, Scopus and the Web of Science. Based on a sample of 146 senior academics in five broad disciplinary areas, we therefore provide both a longitudinal and a cross-disciplinary comparison of the three databases. Our longitudinal comparison of eight data points between 2013 and 2015 shows a consistent and reasonably stable quarterly growth for both publications and citations across the three databases. This suggests that all three databases provide sufficient stability of coverage to be used for more detailed cross-disciplinary comparisons. Our cross-disciplinary comparison of the three databases includes four key research metrics (publications, citations, h-index, and hI, annual, an annualised individual h-index) and five major disciplines (Humanities, Social Sciences, Engineering, Sciences and Life Sciences). We show that both the data source and the specific metrics used change the conclusions that can be drawn from cross-disciplinary comparisons.


Google Scholar Scopus Web of Science H-index hIa Citation analysis Research metrics 


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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Middlesex UniversityLondonUK
  2. 2.University of MelbourneParkvilleAustralia

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