Asked 4th Oct, 2013

ISI Web of Knowledge vs Scopus vs Google Scholar?

Many organizations from different countries ask for citations/reports/h-index when an application is submitted. Historically, the standard method to report those values was a printout of the ISI webpage. However, my feeling is that, currently, Google Scholar is much more accurate indexing articles and references, as well as much faster. I have found many recent articles indexed by Google and not by ISI. I was wondering if this is something specific from my field, and if anybody has had issues with Google Scholar so far (e.g. duplicate publication, wrong number of references).

Most recent answer

Gil Mahe
Institute of Research for Development
H index of individuals with WoS is lower than with Scopus which meanq that WoS takes into account less citations than scopus

Popular answers (1)

Romi Satria Wahono
Universitas Dian Nuswantoro Semarang
From the content aspect, Scopus has 28 million record, against almost 37 million in ISI. Scopus includes 15.000 journal titles, and ISI includes 9000 journal titles. Actually there is a large overlap between Scopus and ISI. Google scholar is larger and larger than ISI and Scopus. Note that the smaller is better in publication quality.
18 Recommendations

All Answers (49)

Romi Satria Wahono
Universitas Dian Nuswantoro Semarang
From the content aspect, Scopus has 28 million record, against almost 37 million in ISI. Scopus includes 15.000 journal titles, and ISI includes 9000 journal titles. Actually there is a large overlap between Scopus and ISI. Google scholar is larger and larger than ISI and Scopus. Note that the smaller is better in publication quality.
18 Recommendations
Edgardo Ortiz-Jaureguizar
Universidad Nacional de La Plata
SCI and SSCI have several major problems: 1) restricted coverage; 2) marked predominance of papers in English; 3) no clear criteria for selecting journals; 4) high cost. SCOPUS has greater coverage, and through tool as Scimago Journal & Country Rank, allows the realization of free bibliometric analysis (although with restricted indicators). However,Scopus has high cost, has a strong bias towards English publications, and only allows calculating indices such as the h index to an arbitrary date (1996). Finally, Google Scholar has a much wider coverage, no linguistic biases, has no time constraints to calculate the h index, is free and, through free software (as Harzing’s Publish or Perish), allows bibliometric analysis. However, Google Scholar is still not as sophisticated and accurate as Web of Knowledge or Scopus when performing more "professional" bibliometric studies. Additionally, for some authors it is more sensitive to manipulation. In my opinion, Google Scholar is a young but very promising tool that has "shocked" the two giants of scientometrics and bibliometrics (Thompson-Reuters and Elsevier) and, if it persists over time and improves some weaknesses, most likely replace the all-powerful Web of Knowledge and Scopus, at least in developing countries.
10 Recommendations
Yogendra Kumar Mishra
University of Southern Denmark
I absolutely agree with you Javier, google scholar is much better in comparison with others two. In my opinion, these number (articles, citations, h index etc.) are something which must be visible to everyone without paying anything and both ISI as well Scopus require subscription and even afterwards they are incomplete in terms of informations. Therefore I always rank google scholar above the other two. Ofcourse google scholar has a small problem too as it counts all the conference abstracts which has nothing to do with citations or h-index and it increases number of papers very dramatically. But I think people do not see complete list, they mainly see the citation, top cited articles and h-index so number does not matter in my opinion........
6 Recommendations
Hardik Modi
Charotar University of Science and Technology
As per transparency,
(1) Google Scholar (Totally open to Public)
(2) Scopus is also very Good( All tools are easily available)
(3) ISI web of knowledge (No data is publicly available)
1 Recommendation
Shanyu Wang
University of Washington Seattle
Google Scholar is very prompt to include the citation, while ISI generally take long time to index the citing article and thus the citatations.
1 Recommendation
Miguel D Bustamante
University College Dublin
I think this is a very good question that has not reached the appropriate audience yet. It would be useful to know the opinion from senior academics who have experience in reviewing proposals. Personally I have reviewed a few proposals but the issue of citations and h-index has not been critical in them. Generically, Google Scholar inflates the number of citations (and hence, the h-index) with respect to SCOPUS or ISI Web of Knowledge. As a referee, it is difficult to compare two applications using different bibliometric sources (say, one using Google Scholar and one using SCOPUS). If you plan to focus on Google Scholar data, it might be useful to include also a brief mention to SCOPUS at least to show the referee that you are aware of the dilemma and that you are pointing at the more conservative source in case the referee needs to look at it.
1 Recommendation
Pedro A Reche
Complutense University of Madrid
I'd stick with SCOPUS. Profiles are created by the scopus team (I did not have to do anything) and it provides great tools to analyze the impact of authors' research.
1 Recommendation
In my experience, the best tool for citations count is Google Scholar. According to the advantages, they are the reference today, even when the system has to be improved.
5 Recommendations
Catherine A. Durham
Oregon State University
I have seen many inaccurate publication attributions in Google scholar. Unless an individual cleans up their list their publications their list will include every publication that has an author with the same first initial and last name. This can result in an individual with a common last name a much higher index than they truly have. All an individual has to do is check "Automatically update the list of articles.. (recommended)." either when they set up or later.
14 Recommendations
René Spijker
Cochrane Netherlands
you might be interested in this reference
2 Recommendations
Daniel S. Schechter
University of Lausanne
ISI  web of science is very slow to pick up references. The Google Scholar Citation Alert is therefore useful.  Unfortunately, my university only allows one to submit the h-index and number of citations minus self-citations from ISI for academic review (promotions, renewals etc). I think that it would be better if they weighed ISI plus Google and figured that the accurate number would be somewhere in the middle.
4 Recommendations
Lin Wu
The University of Tennessee Health Science Center
Alexander, If you send the list of missing articles to Scopus, they will add them for you if they index the journals. It may  up to take 7 days to 4 weeks to be completed and appear online, though. 
3 Recommendations
Pedro A Reche
Complutense University of Madrid
Scopus.  ResearchGate is also getting very good. The score page is great. They only need to implement a non-greedy system to pick up contributions (too much redundancy) and better discern between journal contributions and abstracts submitted to congress. Google scholars is good but I wish it was a bit more flexible. I find that ISI Web of knowledge does not work that well but you get access to journal impact factors.
2 Recommendations
Muayyad Ahmad
University of Jordan
Scopus only do indexing for the articles published in journals affiliated with its databases. Googlescholar takes all publications in any database
3 Recommendations
Naveed Ahmad
Leads University
Google Scholar contains all other databases but it also show some predatory and low ranked journals who are working for earnings dollars only. Therefore, Scopus is the best database to find quality work. 
2 Recommendations
Tero Luukkonen
University of Oulu
I have noticed that even Scopus has started to index some low quality sources (e.g. certain conference publications) recently. 
3 Recommendations
Gil Mahe
Institute of Research for Development
a short note about this
if it can help.
note also that it is now available an index for online/openaccess publications
1 Recommendation
Shohrud Fayziyev
Tashkent State University of Law
all is well but we use also most useful (but more materials in russian)
1 Recommendation
Beemnet Mengesha Kassahun
Kyungpook National University
Dear Dr. Javier Fernandez , comparing ISI and Scopus as a source for citations provides mixed results. In general, Scopus provides a higher citation count than ISI, both in the Sciences and in the Social Sciences and Humanities. In the Sciences, this increase in only marginal (except for Computer Science), whilst in the Social Sciences and Humanities, this increase is substantial.
Scopus appears to have a much broader journal coverage for the Social Sciences and Humanities than ISI and hence provides a fairer comparison. Whilst in ISI academics working in the Sciences have on average 17.5 times as many citations as the academics working in the Social Sciences and Humanities, in Scopus this difference is reduced to 7.5 times.
However, for the time being Scopus is hindered by its lack of coverage before 1996. This means that for most established academics in the Sciences, Scopus will lead to lower lifetime citation counts than ISI. In the Social Sciences and Humanities, a substantially increased citation count is likely for academics who have published the majority of their highly cited work after 1996.
2 Recommendations
In our country our national authorities give advantage to ISI Web of Science against SCOPUS in technical disciplines, so only papers indexed in ISI account in higher meaner for professorship.
3 Recommendations
Carine Temegne Nono
University of Yaounde I
Hamid Reza Baghaee
Amirkabir University of Technology
Interesting issue!
Lluís Albarracín
Autonomous University of Barcelona
My research field is Mathematics Education. There are only 4 ME journals in SSCI and almost 20 in Scopus. There are at least 100 ME journals worldwide nowadays. So SSCI underrepresent some areas in Social Sciences and Scopus is getting a better job in that direction. Perhaps Google Scholar is too inclusive, just because there is no quality criteria involved. I guess Scopus will become the reference in Social Sciences in the next years, but perhaps Clarivate (the owner of JCR) will change their policies.
Olutosin Ademola Otekunrin
Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta
Excellent contributions so far.
Christopher Gerard Yukna
Mines Saint-Etienne
There is a great deal of evidence that classifying or filtering loses as much knowledge as it gains. This being true, I have to weigh in for GS noting that over time the lack of judgement should actually favor Google Scholar's assessments.
"The image that knowledge (much less wisdom) results from applying finer-grained filters at each level, paints the wrong picture. That view is natural to the Information Age which has been all about filtering noise, reducing the flow to what is clean, clear and manageable. Knowledge is more creative, messier, harder won, and far more discontinuous. "
by David Weinberger
hope this helps
1 Recommendation
Khaled Al-Farhany
University of Al-Qadisiyah
different classification and the best one is
ISI Web of Knowledge
Mărgărit Mircea Nistor
Earthresearch Company
In my opinion, the Web of Science is accurate and it indicates the high standard journals.
Thank you! Have a nice day!
MM Nistor
René Spijker
Cochrane Netherlands
To make your choice easier i'll just add another resource : Microsoft academic search, it's becoming a serious contender for google scholar. see
A.s. Albahri
Imam Ja'afar Al-sadiq University
ISI Web of science is better.
Pradeep Koppolu
University of Western Australia
The Web of Science Core Collection consists of six online databases:
  • Science Citation Index Expanded covers more than 8,500 notable journals encompassing 150 disciplines. Coverage is from the year 1900 to the present day.
  • Social Sciences Citation Index covers more than 3,000 journals in social science disciplines. Range of coverage is from the year 1900 to the present day.
  • Arts & Humanities Citation Index covers more than 1,700 arts and humanities journals starting from 1975. In addition, 250 major scientific and social sciences journals are also covered.
  • Emerging Sources Citation Index covers over 5,000 journals in the sciences, social science, and humanities.
  • Book Citation Index covers more than 60,000 editorially selected books starting from 2005.
  • Conference Proceedings Citation Index covers more than 160,000 conference titles in the Sciences starting from 1990 to the present day
1 Recommendation
Sanjoy Kumar Debnath
Chitkara University
Actually one is UK base another is American just try to overcome each other.The matter is your paper is in which quality?Q1,Q2,Q3?
owen lovejoy
Kent State University
actually, google scholar will reference citations that are not scholarly--for ISI or scopus, the citation must be a published article and not just a blog or the equivalent--also Scopus claims that duplicate citations can occur in google that are not properly assessed.....
Lluís Albarracín
Autonomous University of Barcelona
  • Social Sciences Citation Index covers more than 3,000 journals in social science disciplines. Range of coverage is from the year 1900 to the present day.
There are much more of 3,000 proper journals in social science disciplines, that's the reason I think Scopus is a better option in Social Sciences. Also, the SJR offers a diffent kind of metric based in Scopus data, the Scimago team calculates a metric based on relevance of the sources that make a citation (using an algorithm similar to the one Google uses in they search tool).
Christopher Ellis
The University of Western Ontario/Museum of Ontario Archaeology
I think all of these indices have their own problems so the best solution when examining a particular scholar's record is to carefully examine several of the indices and compare them all to a scholar's CV to see what is missing (in something such as research gate or scopus or whatever) or what is included that probably should not be (in something such as google scholar). I have found problems and advantages with all of them. For example, as someone mentioned above, people using Google Scholar can have included in their citations articles they did not write but which were in volumes they edited but at the same time versus other indices it includes more articles in edited volumes that are used more in some fields than others, articles that could be more influential based on a large number of non-self citations. Also, the focus of some indices on quote "reputable journals" (some journals are cited more simply because they put out more issues and hence, articles per year), which means many influential papers as measured by non-self citations is ignored (and be wary, some articles get cited a lot to criticize them as crap!). As scholars we should be as critical of citation indices as we are of any other work.
2 Recommendations
Eva Papazova
Institute for Research in Education
In BG the National Science Fund except only H-index as an application for a grant! Google Scholar Citations are kind a PR for each researcher! Scopus indexed journals has changed each year, even in BG! And ISI journals goes with Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4...In BG the battle is for Q4!
1 Recommendation
Gil Mahe
Institute of Research for Development
Thanks for the information. It is rare rhat google scholar h index be used as a ref for the h index.
Hikmat U Khan
University of Sargodha
ISI indexing, which is Web of Science based is UK based and usually an old but still being followed in most of the countires. Scopus is US based but new and thus the countries while follow US based systems in educational institutes follow this system. Both are good and high standard. There are slight differences as ISI shares JCR which shares journals having impact factors (IF) which cover citation window of two year. whereas, Scopus provides CiteScores to journals which has citation window of three years. A journal indexed by both is obviously has no issue worldwide. However Google scholar indexing about all sort of low level journals as well. For quality, IF and CiteScore should be followed
Gil Mahe
Institute of Research for Development
SCOPUS belongs to Elsevier Dutch company
And it also proposes a JCR for two years, comparable to what ISI shows.
Web of Sciences/ISI belongs to Calrivate Analytics, which is based in Philadelphia US
Gil Mahe
Institute of Research for Development
To Owen Lovejoy
yes Google Scholar frequently do not merge citations to papers which are obviously the same, but which have been referenced with slight errors in names for instance.
But if you use the harzings free software it partially sum up seemingly identical papers, and it reduces the impact of such errors on the global assessment.
Harzings also allows to download the result file in excell format, which you can work upon later on, to merge manually some citations.
Calogero Schillaci
European Commission
I would like to share with you this Conference Session (European Geoscience Union Meeting 2020) that is focussed on the Advanced Literature Searching, Systematic Reviews and Meta-analysis.
Kind regards
Michael Gusenbauer
Johannes Kepler University Linz
If you only consider the total number of scholarly records you would have: Google Scholar (389+ million) > Web of Science (105+ million; 10 databases, incl. Core Collection) > Scopus (72+ million)
Gil Mahe
Institute of Research for Development
H index of individuals with WoS is lower than with Scopus which meanq that WoS takes into account less citations than scopus

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