, Volume 115, Issue 2, pp 913–928 | Cite as

Can Microsoft Academic be used for citation analysis of preprint archives? The case of the Social Science Research Network

  • Michael Thelwall


Preprint archives play an important scholarly communication role within some fields. The impact of archives and individual preprints are difficult to analyse because online repositories are not indexed by the Web of Science or Scopus. In response, this article assesses whether the new Microsoft Academic can be used for citation analysis of preprint archives, focusing on the Social Science Research Network (SSRN). Although Microsoft Academic seems to index SSRN comprehensively, it groups a small fraction of SSRN papers into an easily retrievable set that has variations in character over time, making any field normalisation or citation comparisons untrustworthy. A brief parallel analysis of arXiv suggests that similar results would occur for other online repositories. Systematic analyses of preprint archives are nevertheless possible with Microsoft Academic when complete lists of archive publications are available from other sources because of its promising coverage and citation results.


Microsoft Academic SSRN arXiv Digital repositories Preprint archives 


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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Mathematics and ComputingUniversity of WolverhamptonWolverhamptonUK

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