Scopus - Have You Tried It?

The Boston College Libraries has your back when it comes to providing the best resources for the Boston College community. We want to make sure that you have what you need, so, for 2016, we are providing new access to the multidisciplinary research tool, Scopus, for you to try and let us know what you think.

Scopus is similar to the Web of Science database in a number of ways. Both offer:

  • Wide-ranging exploratory research searching
  • Identification of potential collaborators at Boston College and beyond
  • Scholarly productivity analysis, such as H-Index analysis
  • Journal "impact" comparison tools, which can be useful in identifying potential journal publication targets
  • Ability to discover funding sources

Scopus also brings useful functionality for answering questions like these:

Who does Boston College collaborate with most frequently? The list is vastly larger, but here you see the start of a list of institutions that work most closely with authors here. It's easy to refine this list by discipline or topic.

Boston College's Collaborating Affiliations

When did researchers across the various disciplines start publishing on the topic of "State-building"? As you can see, in 1999, 52 documents using that description were published, and then the numbers quickly started rising to reach a peak of 296 in 2011.

Graph showing Documents by Year

Which BC departments are publishing in the area of "climate change"?

Graph showing Documents by subject area

What are some good journals for me to consider for publishing this article?
The built-in journal comparison tool in Scopus lets you quickly compare up to 10 titles using a variety of metrics; these can be helpful in targeting journals for publication. Click on the "Browse Sources" link found near the upper right of the Search screen. Here you can see two journals compared for the percent of published documents that were not cited in a particular year. Below you'll see another graph, this one shows the Impact per Publication by year for these same two journals.

Graph showing percent of published documents not cited by year Graph showing impact per publication by year

Finally, what are all the publications in Scopus written by "Author X"?
Scopus makes it easy to distinguish authors with similar names – often a big challenge when you're searching through the worldwide literature. Start by clicking the "Author Search" link. By filling out the information you have, you'll be presented with the most likely author "profiles", and from there it's easy to see the list of associated publications. Note the ORCID search option, which allows for searching on an author's unique ORCID ID, if they have registered for one.

Screenshot of author search function

It's good to be aware that the two databases differ in chronological, subject and global content coverage. We know that these differences affect some disciplines more than others.

Chronological coverage:

  • Web of Science, 1900 –
  • Scopus, 1996 -, but with coverage expanding back to 1970 by the end of 2016

Subject and global coverage:

  • Web of Science covers all disciplines
  • Scopus also covers all disciplines, but has particular depth in the social sciences and sciences. Having said that, we have discovered pockets of great depth in various areas of the humanities.
  • Web of Science is catching up, but Scopus still appears to provide more global coverage in its content.

Finally, we know that no database is comprehensive, and that you'll almost certainly find new content in each database. Find more information here, and, again, please let us know what you think. Your feedback is important to us in making sound decisions on the makeup of the Boston College Libraries database collection.

Sally Wyman
Collection Development & Research Librarian