Scopus and Web of Science Comparison: Strengths and Weaknesses

In modern science, the assessment of the effectiveness of researchers’ activities often implies the use of scientometric indicators. They are calculated based on scientific publications, the information about which is commonly stored in bibliographic databases.

The largest and most famous databases to date are Scopus and Web of Science (WoS). The presence of texts in these databases increases the scientist’s rating and favourably affects the work’s reliability level.

What Are Scopus and Web of Science?

Scopus and Web of Science are the largest worldwide-used citation databases. Today, these are the most respected platforms for analysing peer-reviewed literature: scientific publications, conference proceedings, and books.

What Is Web of Science?

The scientometric Web of Science (WoS) database consists of over 33,000 publications. WoS contains such data filters as:

  1. Title
  2. Publication name
  3. Year published
  4. Author
  5. Document type and more

A variety of sorting options allows browsing through large volumes of data fast.

The basis of indexed Web of Science resources is comprised of scientific publications in natural, exact, and social subject areas. Humanities publications appear in this database significantly less often. Therefore, researchers specializing in humanities more often search editions to place their research on Scopus.

What Is Scopus?

Scopus is one of the largest databases that hosts 23,700 titles from 5,000 publishers. Scopus contains:

  • Scientific literature on various disciplines
  • Articles
  • Abstracts
  • Books
  • Collections of conferences
  • Monographs

The publications are updated daily. Thus, users are provided with access to a large volume of the latest information. It enables them to track current trends, as well as find colleagues for joint research. Scopus has special tools that allow the researcher to go further into the field of research, data analysis, and monitoring of link usage frequency.

What Is the Difference between Scopus and Web of Science?

WoS and Scopus share a lot of common features. Nevertheless, these databases have a couple of significant differences. For instance, the Web of Science database allows deeper search of published papers dating back to 1900, whereas Scopus covers more modern materials.

Besides, the topic of research is also important. While Web of Science collects information on the natural, technical, and social sciences, Scopus also has a wide variety of publications in the humanities field, although neither of them is considered to be specialised.

Scopus vs Web of Science: Which Database Is Better?

When comparing the use of Web of Science and Scopus in academic papers, there is no definite answer regarding which database is better. Most users agree that these platforms complement each other.

Scopus offers a more extensive list of modern sources. An additional advantage of Scopus is the implementation of an independent sourcing system. Moreover, its interface is often considered more user-friendly.

Web of Science, on the other hand, provides the most in-depth citation by source. Another advantage of using WoS is the availability of a large volume of scientific literature published in the past.

Both systems subdivide sources into quartiles according to the citation level. Based on this indicator, you can assess their quality.

All in all, both platforms are equally efficient. They offer the functionality that allows the user to achieve the assigned tasks without difficulties. The specific choice directly depends on the goals pursued by the researcher.

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