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). RSM is the international university based business school at Erasmus University Rotterdam. More info here: www.rsm.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

  • Marquette alumnus establishes $1 million scholarship for business school - fox6now.com April 27, 2015
    fox6now.comMarquette alumnus establishes $1 million scholarship for business schoolfox6now.comMILWAUKEE (WITI) — Marquette University College of Business Administration announced Monday, April 24th that alumnus John C. Seramur, former president and CEO of Stevens Point, Wisconsin-based First Financial Corporation, has established a $1 ...and more »
  • How Women Are Faring at Business Schools Worldwide - blogs.hbr.org (blog) April 27, 2015
    blogs.hbr.org (blog)How Women Are Faring at Business Schools Worldwideblogs.hbr.org (blog)You might expect organizations that teach the latest in leadership theory to practice what they preach. It ain't happening. There is a raft of research showing that improving gender balance leads to enhanced business performance. But business schools ...
  • Business School Dean Says Profit Isn't Everything - WBUR April 27, 2015
    WBURBusiness School Dean Says Profit Isn't EverythingWBURAs the dean of the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business, Alison Davis-Blake says she's noticed a shift in goals among entrepreneurial hopefuls. She thinks millennials currently in business school are distinct, compared to MBAs of the past.and more »
  • Computer Society of Zimbabwe zeroes in on IS security at upcoming Business ... - Technology Zimbabwe April 27, 2015
    Technology ZimbabweComputer Society of Zimbabwe zeroes in on IS security at upcoming Business ...Technology ZimbabweIt's no surprise then, that the Computer Society of Zimbabwe (CSZ) has focused its attention on this issue. From the 17th to the 19th of June 2015, The Computer Society of Zimbabwe will be hosting its annual business school and conference […]
  • HBX, Harvard Business School's Online Education Initiative, Announces ... - PR Newswire (press release) April 27, 2015
    HBX, Harvard Business School's Online Education Initiative, Announces ...PR Newswire (press release)BOSTON, April 27, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- HBX, Harvard Business School's online digital education initiative, announced today that it has entered into an agreement with Amherst College to provide additional benefits for Amherst students ...an […]
  • Harvard Business School Launches New Effort To Attract Women - Huffington Post April 27, 2015
    Huffington PostHarvard Business School Launches New Effort To Attract WomenHuffington PostIt's been more than 50 years since Harvard Business School started admitting women, yet the elite institution is still figuring out how to best attract and support them. Its latest effort: a recruiting program targeting women's colleges -- places that ...How t […]
  • Ingersoll Rand Leader to Discuss Sustainability and Innovation at EGADE ... - 3BL Media (press release) April 27, 2015
    3BL Media (press release)Ingersoll Rand Leader to Discuss Sustainability and Innovation at EGADE ...3BL Media (press release)Hosted by the EGADE Business School, the Global Green Business Summit is in its sixth year and presents business opportunities and innovation representing the fight against climate change, preservation of natural capital and the effici […]
  • Kiganjo to be probed over 'business school' claims as socialites stalk cops - SDE Entertainment News April 27, 2015
    SDE Entertainment NewsKiganjo to be probed over 'business school' claims as socialites stalk copsSDE Entertainment NewsThe institution is giving Strathmore Business School and Harvard School of Business a run for their money. If the task force confirms that indeed the curriculum is for entrepreneurship instead of police training, heads will roll,” […]
  • Short tenure of deans signals a leadership void - Financial Times April 26, 2015
    Financial TimesShort tenure of deans signals a leadership voidFinancial TimesSo it is perhaps surprising that business schools, which pride themselves on teaching leadership skills, have been so woefully bad at appointing deans who inspire and stay the course. The statistics tell a sorry tale. Over the past decade most deans in ...
  • Business schools are their own worst enemies - Financial Times April 26, 2015
    BusinessBecauseBusiness schools are their own worst enemiesFinancial TimesThe future of management education is bright — provided top business schools broaden the scope of who they serve and how they serve them. To be sure, there is plenty of alarming news. After a high in 2012, the number of GMAT-takers is down two years ...Business Analytics Courses Surge […]
Locations of Site Visitors

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: