A New Era in Citation and Bibliometric Analyses: Web of Science, Scopus, and Google Scholar

Lokman I. Meho and Kiduk Yang
School of Library and Information Science, Indiana University, 2007


Academic institutions, federal agencies, publishers, editors, authors, and librarians increasingly rely on citation analysis for making hiring, promotion, tenure, funding, and/or reviewer and journal evaluation and selection decisions. The Institute for Scientific Information’s (ISI) citation databases have been used for decades as a starting point and often as the only tools for locating citations and/or conducting citation analyses. ISI databases (or Web of Science), however, may no longer be adequate as the only or even the main sources of citations because new databases and tools that allow citation searching are now available. Whether these new databases and tools complement or represent alternatives to Web of Science (WoS) is important to explore. Using a group of 15 library and information science faculty members as a case study, this paper examines the effects of using Scopus and Google Scholar (GS) on the citation counts and rankings of scholars as measured by WoS. The paper discusses the strengths and weaknesses of WoS, Scopus, and GS, their overlap and uniqueness, quality and language of the citations, and the implications of the findings for citation analysis. The project involved citation searching for approximately 1,100 scholarly works published by the study group and over 200 works by a test group (an additional 10 faculty members). Overall, more than 10,000 citing and purportedly citing documents were examined. WoS data took about 100 hours of collecting and processing time, Scopus consumed 200 hours, and GS a grueling 3,000 hours.

Conclusions by the authors:

The study found that the addition of Scopus citations to those of WoS could significantly alter the ranking of scholars. The study also found that GS stands out in its coverage of conference proceedings as well as international, non-English language journals, among others. GS also indexes a wide variety of document types, some of which may be of significant value to researchers. The use of Scopus and GS, in addition to WoS, reveals a more comprehensive and accurate picture of the extent of the scholarly relationship between LIS and other fields, as evidenced by the unique titles that cite LIS literature (e.g., titles from Cognitive Science, Computer Science, Education, and Engineering, to name only a few). Significantly, this study has demonstrated that:

  1. Although WoS remains an indispensable citation database, it should not be used alone for locating citations to an author or title, and, by extension, journals, departments, and countries; Scopus should be used concurrently.
  2. Although Scopus provides more comprehensive citation coverage of LIS and LIS-related literature than WoS for the period 1996-2005, the two databases complement rather than replace each other.
  3. While both Scopus and GS help identify a considerable number of citations not found in WoS, only Scopus significantly alters the ranking of scholars as measured by WoS.
    Although GS unique citations are not of the same quality as those found in WoS or Scopus, they could be very useful in showing evidence of broader international impact than could possibly be done through the two proprietary databases.
  4. GS value for citation searching purposes is severely diminished by its inherent problems. GS data are not limited to refereed, high quality journals and conference proceedings. GS is also very cumbersome to use and needs significant improvement in the way it displays search results and the downloading capabilities it offers for it to become a useful tool for large-scale citation analyses.
  5. Given the low overlap or high uniqueness between the three tools, they may all be necessary to develop more accurate maps or visualizations of scholarly networks and impact both within and between disciplines (Börner, Chen, & Boyack, 2003; Börner, Sanyal, & Vespignani, 2006; Small, 1999; White & McCain, 1997).
  6. Each database or tool requires specific search strategy(ies) in order to collect citation data, some more accurately and quickly (i.e., WoS and Scopus) than others (i.e., GS).

(Accepted for publication in the Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology)

The Rise and Rise of Citation Analysis

Meho, Lokman I. (2007) The Rise and Rise of Citation Analysis.

  Full text available as:PDF -.


With the vast majority of scientific papers now available online, this paper (accepted for publication in Physics World) describes how the Web is allowing physicists and information providers to measure more accurately the impact of these papers and their authors. Provides a historical background of citation analysis, impact factor, new citation data sources (e.g., Google Scholar, Scopus, NASA’s Astrophysics Data System Abstract Service, MathSciNet, ScienceDirect, SciFinder Scholar, Scitation/SPIN, and SPIRES-HEP), as well as h-index, g-index, and a-index.

The author shows his awareness with the new dimensions of publishing:

Scientists now need to make it their job to disseminate their work on as many platforms and in as many different ways as possible, such as publishing in open access and high-impact journals, and posting their work in institutional repositories, personal homepages and e-print servers, if they want their peers to be aware of, use and ultimately cite their work. Publishing a journal article is now only the first step in disseminating or communicating one’s work; the Web provides a multitude of methods and tools to publicize its scholarly worth.

Cortege according to Peter van Straaten

There is a nice repository with cartoons by Peter van Straaten.

Some of these are related to university topics, like this one: the cortege (1997, 25 januari). I see very unhappy professors with logo’s of companies who pay for these chairs.

Very sharp and still a ‘hot topic’ today.

The cortege

Leiden Professors and their fascination; a good example for others

Leiden University has created a wonderful website about the work and fascination of it’s immense intellectual capital over the centuries. All profs in one place. Well done!

This is what I call a valuable nurturing of your intellectual heritage.

Website of the Leiden professors

Does it Take an Expert to Lead Experts? Professionals versus Managers in Universities

Amanda H. Goodall argues in her PhD thesis (March 2007) that where expert knowledge is the key
factor that characterizes an organization it is expert knowledge that
should also be key in the selection of its leader.

There is a special chapter on business schools.

Page 70: results

It offers simple evidence that the higher a business school is in the FT Top-100 ranking the higher are the lifetime citations of its dean. The correlation is found for the international group of 100 business schools, for 58 US schools, and, in a different data set, for 38 UK university business schools in the 2001 Research Assessment Exercise.


Although this thesis focuses on those who lead universities, the
theoretical explanations outlined here are more general. They could also
apply to other heads of key strategic units within institutions, for example,
department chairs. But another question of importance to the university
system as a whole is that of whether top scholars should be leading
national research institutes and funding bodies? These are organizations
such as the National Institutes for Health and the National Science
Foundation in the US, the research councils in the UK (e.g. Medical
Research Council, Economic and Social Research Council) and also
bodies such as the Higher Education Funding Council for England
(HEFCE). The importance of such bodies seems indisputable, and some
might argue that their leaders are among the guardians of the higher
education sector, and therefore that they should have extensive inherent
knowledge about scholarship, and be seen to be credible by those they
serve in universities.
The research findings of the thesis can, arguably, be directly applied to
the real world. This leads us to ask: who might be interested in the
thesis? There are a number of potential beneficiaries. Universities as
institutions do not differ substantially the world over. It is anticipated
therefore, that interest may come from universities and also policy
analysts, government officials and politicians in countries considering
making changes to their higher education systems — for example,
Portugal, Italy and Germany32.
There is limited public information about what research universities
should be looking for in their leaders. Thus, it is anticipated that those
who appoint to the top university jobs, such as members of university
governing boards and also head-hunters from recruitment firms, should
be interested in these findings.
This empirical work is about leaders of institutions dominated by experts
and professionals. Hence, the findings are also relevant to firms such as
architects, lawyers, accountants and management consultancies. It could
also be argued that the recommendations will be of equal significance to
arts organizations such as theatres and galleries.
This study will make an intellectual contribution that will be of benefit to
the academic community. Specifically, the thesis will add to the body of
work in leadership and strategic management. The work also contributes
towards education research and furthers our understanding about the
appropriate selection of leaders and the important role of governance.

Does it Take an Expert to Lead Experts? Professionals versus Managers in Universities
Amanda H. Goodall
Warwick Business School
University of Warwick
Dissertation submitted for the degree of
MARCH 2007

Authoratory: find an expert in any field

Authoratory is a unique database of contact information, professional interests, social connections and funding of thousands of leading scientists. The content of Authoratory is produced by a computer program analyzing large amounts of data from PubMed. PubMed is a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine that includes over 16 million citations from MEDLINE and other life science journals for biomedical articles back to the 1950s. PubMed includes links to full text articles and other related resources.

Authoratory software data-mining techniques make it possible to discover new information about the authors – the information that is not apparent by reviewing one or two of their articles. For each selected author Authoratory gives the following:

  • the author status: primary or non-primary (primary author publishes articles independently, while non-primary always publishes articles with another author or a group of authors)
  • the list of most frequent coauthors (navigate the social network between the authors using their join publications)
  • professional interests (as indicated by the MeSH keywords and by the statistical analysis of abstracts and publication titles)
  • the author’s affiliated institution and contact information
  • the change of all these parameters across time

Authoratory keyword search is unique as well. It uses keyword frequencies to rank authors against each other. The more papers the particular author publishes for a specific keyword, the higher his rank is in the keyword listings. With Authoratory keyword search it ‘s possible to quickly find all authors with expertise in a specific narrow topic.

HISTCITE™; Bibiliographic Analysis and Visualization Software

HistCite is a flexible software solution to aid researchers in visualizing the results of literature searches in the Web of Science. It is easy, fast, and provides perspectives and information not available from the Web of Science.

HistCite can create clear and informative data tables and graphs in an HTML format readable in a web browser. Go here see examples of HistCite output. HistCite also outputs data in tables and publication-quality graphs.

HistCite is a software implementation of algorithmic historiography, and has been developed by Dr Eugene Garfield, founder of the Institute for Scientific Information and the inventor of citation analysis. Go here for a bibliography of papers on algorithmic historiography.

HistCite software is scheduled for commercial release in early 2007. If you want to learn more about HistCite and to get information about when it becomes available, please use the feedback form.

Click here for a Flash demo of the main features of HistCite.

What Can I Do With HistCite?

HistCite has many applications. Here are some of them:

Identify the key literature in a research field
By analyzing the results of a keyword search you can identify:

  • papers important to the development of the topic

  • important papers “missed” by your keyword search

  • most prolific and most cited authors and journals

  • other keywords that can be used to expand the collection

Analyze publication productivity and citation rates within a collection of research papers
Compare characteristics such as:

  • countries and institutions that authors publish from

  • most prolific and most cited authors within the groups

  • citation statistics for groups and subgroups (mean and median citation rates of papers, number of authors per paper, etc.)

Reconstruct the history and development of a research field
Analyze the content of an author search and you can find:

  • highly cited articles

  • important co-author relationships

  • earlier publications and documents important to the development of the author’s work

  • time line of the authors’ publications

  • view historiographs showing the key papers and timeline of a research field.

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