Difference between Scopus and Web of Science (WoS)

Difference between Scopus and Web of Science: Both Scopus and Web of Science (WoS) are abstract and citation databases. In this blog post, we are going to cover the following queries related to Scopus and WoS:

  • What is Scopus and WoS?
  • How these both citation databases work?
  • Feature of Scopus and WoS.
  • Difference between Scopus and Web of Science (WoS).
  • etc;

The scientific community has published an enormous amount of research articles in different research areas. Efficient and authentic databases are needed to get access to these research articles. 

The most common platforms used by the researchers are Scopus and Web of Science. These are the largest citation-based databases. They can be used for searching and analyzing various scientific publications, literature reviews, conference proceedings, books. 

Apart from helping in regular literature surveys, Scopus and WoS databases also provide a source for the ranking of journals. The journal ranking is based on the total citations received in a particular year which leads to an impact factor of the journal. 

There is an intense competition between Scopus and the Web of Science. 

Overview of Web of Science (WoS)

For many years, Web of Science has been providing access to comprehensive citation search. It was originally produced by Institute for scientific information that is presently being maintained by Clarivate Analytics. It provides a common search language, a well-structured database, and a navigation environment that helps in getting relevant search results. 

Web of Science serves as a multidisciplinary and regional citation index platform for more than 34,200 scientific publications (journals, patents, and books) from over 45 different languages. It contains the following data filters: 

  1. Title 
  1. Name of the Publication 
  1. Year of Publication 
  1. Name of the Authors 
  1. Type of Documents 

Web of Science provides unique methods of searching literature in all disciplines. Here, researchers can navigate forward or backward through the literature and print the collections with the help of institutional link resolvers. It also provides online access to the following databases 

  • 1900-present, SCI-EXPANDED:  Science Citation Index Expanded
  • 1900-present, SSCI: Social Sciences Citation Index  
  • 1975-present, AHCI: Arts & Humanities Citation Index  
  • 2005-present, Book Citation Index  
  • 1993-present, Conference Proceedings Citation Index  

Overview of Scopus

It provides tools for analyzing, tracking, and visualizing search results. Scopus is the world’s largest citation and abstract database for peer-reviewed publications. It was launched by Elsevier in 2004. 

Scopus helps in overviewing the research output from various disciplines such as science, humanities, medicine, social sciences across the globe. It provides coverage of nearly about 36,000 journals from more than 11,000 publishers. 

Features of Scopus 

  • It covers nearly 36,377 titles along with 22,794 active and nearly 13,583 non-active titles. 
  • It has more than 44 million patent records from international patent offices. 
  • With more than 40,000 book series. The serial publications such as journals, books, conference proceedings have ISSN (International Standard Serial Number) whereas the non-serial publications which includes conference proceedings, book chapters have ISBN (International   Standard   Book   Number). 
  • It has close to 8 million conference papers from nearly 1,00,000 conference events. 

Type of Documents in Scopus 

Scopus coverage mainly focuses on serial publications that include Reviews, Articles, short surveys, books, chapters, Letters and notes, conference proceedings, etc. It does not often cover trade book reviews. 

Other Features of Scopus

Abstracts and Keywords 

There are approximately more than 60 million records of publications in Scopus featuring abstracts in them. The availability of the abstracts and keywords ensures all the researchers find relevant results in a more efficient manner. Scopus also add index terms manually for most of its scientific publications. These are usually licensed from Elsevier. Following are the some of assigned indexed terms across various disciplines. 

  • Species Index (biology, life sciences) 
  • Emtree medical terms (health sciences, life sciences) 
  • Ei Thesaurus (engineering, physical sciences, technology) 
  • FLX terms, WTA terms (textile sciences, fluid sciences) 

Author Profiles and ORCID Integration 

It is possible to search author data through a Scopus author identifier that automatically matches the author name based on the subject area, affiliation, title, and dates of publication. Open researcher and contributor identifier (ORCID) helps in solving the ambiguity name problem by assigning a unique identifier code to the authors. 

Data Analysis and Head-to-Head comparison between WoS and Scopus 

WoS subscription fee is 52% higher than Scopus subscription. Recent data also reveals that WoS is used between 150-280% more than Scopus. During the duration of 2008-2017, nearly 43,068 articles and 48,285 articles were published in WoS and Scopus respectively. 

Also, the journal coverage for social sciences and humanities are low for both the databases whereas the strongest coverage is for Biomedical research followed by natural sciences. The journals titles published in Natural sciences, biomedical research, and social sciences have a higher percentage of indexing in Scopus i.e 37,535 journals are indexed in Scopus, on the other hand, 28,560 journals are indexed in WoS. 

Which is Better? Scopus or Web of Science.

Both Scopus and Web of Science complement each other. Scopus interface is considered more user-friendly as there is an advantage of the implementation of a sourcing system by individuals. It has a list of all the modern sources. On the other hand, Web of Science provides in-depth search results. It also serves as a platform for scientific publications from the past.

The following table highlights important differences between the two databases. 

Features Scopus Web of Science 
Publisher Elsevier Thomson Reuters 
Content Life sciences, health sciences, physical sciences, and social sciences Life sciences, biomedical sciences, engineering, social sciences, arts 
Time period covered 1970-present 1900-present 
Databases covered 100% of Medline and Embase – plus other content Science Citation Index, Social Sciences Citation Index, Arts 
Updating frequency Daily Weekly 
Number of titles published outside North America 16,000 14,420 
Strengths Compare journals: compares up to 10 sources by impact metrics: number of citations, number of articles published in a year, % of articles not cited, & % of articles that are review articles, all graphed by year. 
View secondary documents, which are documents not indexed in Scopus (retrieved from the references or citations of the documents that are covered by Scopus) 
More options for citation analysis for institutions   More robust author searching – all authors from all publications are indexed, searchable, and unified based on ORCID and Researcher ID profiles.
Deeper citation indexing across all content (back to 1900)  
Difference between Scopus and Web of science

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