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Comparing alternatives to the Web of Science for coverage of the social sciences’ literature

Michael Norris and Charles Oppenheim

Journal of Informetrics, 2007, vol. 1, issue 2, 161-169

Abstract: The Web of Science is no longer the only database which offers citation indexing of the social sciences. Scopus, CSA Illumina and Google Scholar are new entrants in this market. The holdings and citation records of these four databases were assessed against two sets of data one drawn from the 2001 Research Assessment Exercise and the other from the International bibliography of the Social Sciences. Initially, CSA Illumina's coverage at journal title level appeared to be the most comprehensive. But when recall and average citation count was tested at article level and rankings extrapolated by submission frequency to individual journal titles, Scopus was ranked first. When issues of functionality, the quality of record processing and depth of coverage are taken into account, Scopus and Web of Science have a significant advantage over the other two databases. From this analysis, Scopus offers the best coverage from amongst these databases and could be used as an alternative to the Web of Science as a tool to evaluate the research impact in the social sciences.

Keywords: RAE; Web of Science; Scopus; CSA Illumina Google Scholar research impact (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:eee:infome:v:1:y:2007:i:2:p:161-169