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)

About these ads

About Wilfred Mijnhardt
RMIMR is my virtual playground, a place to reflect on issues from my professional context; my job as Policy Director at Rotterdam School of Management, erasmus University (RSM) and Executive Director at Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM). ERIM is the joint research Institute of the Rotterdam School of Management (RSM) and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) at the Erasmus University Rotterdam. www.erim.eur.nl www.rsm.nl www.ese.eur.nl Here is my list of relevant publications on the topic of my RMIMR weblog: http://www.mendeley.com/collections/694621/RMIMR-Repository/ The rss feed for my RMIMR collection is here: http://www.mendeley.com/collections/rss/694621/ Here is my other weblog on impact of research: http://www.scoop.it/t/dualimpact

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

RSS Business School News

  • Former Shell Oil executive is finalist for business school deanship - GW Hatchet (subscription) April 17, 2014
    GW Hatchet (subscription)Former Shell Oil executive is finalist for business school deanshipGW Hatchet (subscription)A former oil executive and the dean of a rising New York business school are two of the five finalists the lead the GW School of Business deanship. John Hofmeister, the former president of Shell Oil Company, and Donald Sieger, dean of the Scho […]
  • Nice Guys Can Win (If They Are Good) - Huffington Post Canada April 17, 2014
    Nice Guys Can Win (If They Are Good)Huffington Post CanadaABOUT THE AUTHOR: Bill Furlong is an Executive-in-Residence at Ivey Business School at Western University in London, Ont. Previously he was a Vice Chair at TD Securities. He can be reached at bfurlong@ivey.uwo.ca. FOLLOW CANADA BUSINESS.
  • How Women Can Use Business School to Hone Leadership Skills - U.S. News & World Report April 17, 2014
    How Women Can Use Business School to Hone Leadership SkillsU.S. News & World ReportThose who start new businesses with men have limited opportunities to move into leadership roles, and when they co-found a business with their husbands, they have even fewer chances to be in charge, according to a statement from the association.
  • ConocoPhillips donates $1 million to help OSU build new business school facility - Tulsa World April 17, 2014
    ConocoPhillips donates $1 million to help OSU build new business school facilityTulsa WorldConocoPhillips Corp. on Wednesday announced a $1 million donation toward the new home of Oklahoma State University's Spears School of Business. OSU said it will name the new building's social and collaborative area the ConocoPhillips Student ...ConocoPhillips […]
  • Power Moves: Swizz Beatz Accepted To Harvard Business School - Vibe April 17, 2014
    Power Moves: Swizz Beatz Accepted To Harvard Business SchoolVibeSwizz Beatz has always been about progression. He recently solidified his next step in life by sharing news of his acceptance into Harvard Business School. He will be enrolled in the Owner/President Management Program. He gleefully posted a portion of ...
  • Secrets of Corporate Recruiters: Why Headhunters Avoid Some Business Schools - Businessweek April 16, 2014
    Corporate CounselSecrets of Corporate Recruiters: Why Headhunters Avoid Some Business SchoolsBusinessweekAfter they know how many business school graduates they want to bring on board, companies decide where to find them by looking at the schools where they've had the most success finding—and retaining—employees to hire. Makes sense so far.Stanford Is T […]
  • Columbia Business School's Greater China Society to Host 7th Annual China ... - GlobeNewswire (press release) April 16, 2014
    Columbia Business School's Greater China Society to Host 7th Annual China ...GlobeNewswire (press release)NEW YORK, April 16, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Columbia Business School's Greater China Society announced today it will host the seventh annual China Business Conference on Friday, April 25, 2014 from 8:00am to 6:00pm. The student-led event will  […]
  • CEO of Deloitte to speak at business school graduation - GW Hatchet (subscription) (blog) April 15, 2014
    CEO of Deloitte to speak at business school graduationGW Hatchet (subscription) (blog)Barry Salzberg, the CEO of Deloitte Global, is the first business school speaker in four years to not have earned a degree from GW. He will speak about “leadership, career development and the value of education” on May 16, interim dean Christopher ...
  • UK business school scholarship opens doors for junior NRZ official - The Zimbabwean April 15, 2014
    The ZimbabweanUK business school scholarship opens doors for junior NRZ officialThe ZimbabweanCarrying on his tradition of studying while working, Maundu settled on an online MBA offered by Edinburgh Business School and was also fortunate to qualify for a scholarship from the organisation, which helped offset some of the financial burdens ...Henley Business […]
  • Business school experts: High CEO pay hurts American companies - Fox News (blog) April 15, 2014
    Business school experts: High CEO pay hurts American companiesFox News (blog)In 2013, CEOs of S&P 500 companies earned, on average, 204 times the salary of rank-and-file employees. Some stockholders are upset. Should they be? The need for high executive salaries and generous incentives continues to be debated. By and large ...
Locations of Site Visitors

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: