Skip to Main Content

Citation Indexes: Scopus & Web of Science

How to use Scopus and Web of Science for basic research and in-depth literature searching.

Web of Science

Web of Science is a citation index: it collects abstracts and citation data for all articles published by the set of academic journals included in its indexes based on specific criteria.Screenshot of an author impact beamplot from Web of Science (Clarivate Analytics)

Citation indexes also track how often papers are cited, and it is through this citation analysis that you can get a sense of what people have written and what, based on the citations, are considered either foundational papers in the field or are new enough to be necessary to a review of the current trends.

This citation data can be used to analyze scholarly research in many ways, including by topic, author, affiliation, publication, time period, and other factors. When looking for articles for a literature review, using Web of Science is the best way to make sure you're reading the articles you should be.

Web of Science includes a few very useful ways to analyze articles in groups, either as a collection of search results or as the articles that all cite a particular article. A new visualization tool called the Author Impact Beamplot, seen here, shows an author's influence in their years of publication. 

The Database

Database Help

Sources & Coverage

Contents include:

  • Journals
  • Conference Proceedings
  • Scholarly Book Series

The Library's subscription to Web of Science includes a number of different indexes (organized lists). The primary collection of indexes is called the Core Collection, as seen in the image. Other indexes provide more global or subject-specific coverage.

Using Web of Science as an Author

When you have a publication in a journal indexed by Web of Science, the algorithm assigns you an author record and Web of Science ResearcherID, which you must claim in order to eliminate duplicate records and inaccurate information.

  • Author profiles: Web of Science's author profiles, known as Researcher Profiles, are integrated with Publons, the peer review platform. You must create a Web of Science account to claim your publications and ResearcherID, and from there correct any errors. If you have an exiting Publons account, it is now integrated into Web of Science.
    • Your Author Profile will also show listed peer review and editor work if added to Publons.
  • Unique identifier: Web of Science ResearcherID. You can also add your ORCID number.
  • Metrics (for articles indexed in Web of Science):
    • Citation count
    • Citation network
    • Author Impact Beamplot

Web of Science Metrics

Journal Metrics

Web of Science has a separate, interconnected database for journal impact data, Journal Citation Reports. A journal's "impact factor" is based on the frequency with which an average article from a journal is cited in a particular year.

Please Note

A common way to judge the effect of a journal on a field of research is through using citation data, tracking the number of times articles are cited, to aid in the decision-making process for those who might need this data: researchers looking to publish, librarians looking to subscribe, or promotion-and-tenure committees looking to judge the work done by researchers. But it's important to remember that the value of a journal to the field might be seen in measures other than citation counts, so while journal citation data can provide a good data point to keep in mind when making your own decision, it should not be the only one you consider.

Article Metrics

Each article is part of a "citation network" which includes citations and cited references based on publications in the WoS Core Collection.

WoS also tracks article usage through the combined number of full text click-throughs to the publisher's website and bibliographic exports for an item in the last 180 days and since 2013.

Author Metrics

WoS tracks an author's h-index based on the Library's subscription to indexes within WoS:

"The h-index value is based on a list of publications ranked in descending order by the Times Cited count.

An index of h means that there are h papers that have each been cited at least h times." (Source: Web of Science: h-index information)

WoS also includes an Author Impact Beamplot on author profiles that provides a normalized citation percentile for all of an author's papers compared to others of the same age, category and document type.