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Scopus at Boston College


Scopus vs Web of Science

Scopus v Web of Science guide adapted from U of Washington guide on the same topic

Scopus and Web of Science Comparison Chart

Scopus vs. Web of Science

Features Scopus Web of Science
Number of journals >20,000 >12,000
Content Physical sciences, health sciences, life sciences, social sciences. Sciences, social sciences, arts and humanities
Databases covered 100% Medline, Embase, and more Science Citation Index, Social Sciences Citation Index, and Arts & Humanities Citation Index
Time period covered Initially covered 1996-present.  Now includes substantial content prior to 1996, with some back to 1823.

Science component: 1900-.

Social science component: 1975-.

Arts & humanities component: 1975-.

Updated daily weekly?
Developer/Producer Elsevier Thomson Reuters
Citation analysis yes yes
Controlled vocabulary yes - IndexTerms field no
Export feature yes yes
Alerts service yes yes
  • author search feature easy to use
  • more versatile search tool with advantages in functionality (default, refine, format of results of citation tracker and author identification.
  • covers 6256 unique journals, compared to WOS’ 1467
  • greater international coverage
  • can use “first author” as a search field in Advanced Search
  • can search with controlled vocabulary
  • built-in journal comparison tool
  • robust data visualization tools
  • greater time period of coverage
  • more options for citation analysis for institutions
  • covers science and arts/humanities
Weaknesses Social science coverage, esp. sociology and prior to 1966;  but varies from discipline to discipline with perhaps unexpected strengths in certain areas No controlled vocabulary

For More Information

Comparison of Scopus and Web of Science:

  • Falagas ME, Pitsouni EI, Malietzis GA, Pappas G. Comparison of PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science, and Google Scholar: strengths and weaknesses. FASEB J. 2008 Feb;22(2):338-42. Epub 2007 Sep 20. PubMed PMID: 17884971.
  • HLWIKI Canada. Scopus vs Web of Science. Updated 2015.
  • Kulkarni AV, Aziz B, Shams I, Busse JW. Comparisons of citations in Web of Science, Scopus, and Google Scholar for articles published in general medical journals. JAMA. 2009 Sep 9;302(10):1092-6. PubMed PMID: 19738094. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.1307
  • Salisbury L. Web of Science and Scopus: A Comparative Review of Content and Searching Capabilities. The Charleston Advisor. 2009 July;11(1): 5-18.

Review of Scopus:

  • Gale Cengage Learning. Péter's Digital Reference Shelf : Scopus. June 2009

Review of Web of Science:

  • Gale Cengage Learning. Péter's Digital Reference Shelf : Web of Science. July 2009