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Evaluating scholarly publications

Basic information

Citation databases are databases that have been developed for evaluating publications. The citation databases enable you to count citations and check, for example, which articles or journals are the most cited ones.

Note: None of the citation databases cover all publications. The coverage of different disciplines also varies greatly.

Note: Citation analysis and bibliometric indicators are based on citations and the amount of them. Citing in itself, however, is not a quality criterion and there can be many reasons for the citing (negative citations, ethnocentricity, self-citation).

Compare citation databases

Database   Clarivate Analytics logo
General information   Multidisciplinary database for abstracts and citations, the oldest and the most frequently used
Service provider   Clarivate Analytics (before Thomson Reuters and ISI)
Access   Access via the Finna search service in the university’s network or by remote access if the university has license to the database

Contains citation data of more than 10 000 of the most cited, peer reviewed journals. About 8000 journals on natural sciences and 2600 on social sciences. References from the year 1900, citations from 1997.

Observe! Web of Knowledge comprises three parts: Web of Science (user interface for searching), Journal Citation Reports index (evaluating the impact factor of journals) and Essential Science Indicators (e.g. evaluations by researchers and research institutes based on citations). Access to these depends on your university's license.


Excellent coverage: Hard sciences (chemistry, clinical medicine, biochemistry)
Good coverage: Psychology, mathematics, economics, technology
Moderate coverage: Humanities and social sciences


Covers publications from a long time period (especially regarding hard sciences)

Well-known and used indicators

Complex search options


Only moderate coverage in humanities and social sciences

Publications mainly journals in English, other languages and countries poorly represented


Cited Reference Search

Citation Mapping

Alerts and RSS-feeds

Citation Report and h-index,

Author Finder

Journal Citation Reports database (evaluation of the impact factor regarding journals, and comparisons)

Bibliometric indicators  


impact factor

Immediaxy index

AI (article impact)

EF (Eigenfactor)

Citation median

Total amount of citations

Refworks   Indirect transfer to RefWorks in BibTex-format. Instructions (Boston University)
Researcher profile   ResearcherID. Can be integrated with Orcid-ID.

Web of Knowledge comprises three parts, se Content

Impact Factor is only available in Web of Knowledge/JCR, Clarivate Analytics has exclusive rights to it


Database   Scopus logo
General information   Multidisciplinary database for abstracts and citations
Service provider   Elsevier
Access   Accessible via Finna search portal in the university’s network or by remote access if the university has license to the database

Contains about 21 500 scientific journals from more than 5000 publishers. Includes also about 4200 Open Access-journals, 7,2 million conference publications, 360 trade journals and 113 000 books. Citations from 1996


The most comprehensive collection is in the natural sciences, technology, medicine and social sciences. Materials from all over the world (also Europe, Asia and Latin America).

Amount of journal titles: Life sciences 4300, health sciences 6800, physical sciences 7,200, humanities and social sciences 5300


Easy to use
More comprehensive than WOS regarding social sciences, humanities and technology
Different continents well represented


Citations indexed since 1996
Errors can occur, especially regarding authors with the same name
Publications mainly journals in English

Features   Author Identifier
Affiliation Identifier
Cited Reference Search
Alerts and RSS-feeds
Citation tracker
Scopus Journal Analyzer
Bibliometric indicators  

Total amount of citations     

SJR (SCImago Journal Rank)

SNIP (Source Normalized Impact per Paper)


Refworks   Direct transfer to RefWorks (choose  export-> refworksin the article information)
Researcher profile   Scopus Author Indentifier. Can be integrated with Orcid-ID.
Other   -


Database   Google Scholar logo
General information   Search engine, searches for data in scientific sources on the web
Service provider   Google
Access   Free

The search results include theses, presentations, books, abstracts, conference papers and articles produced by academic publishers, institutions, universities and other scientific organizations


No information on which publishers or publications are included in the Google Scholar index.

Several important database providers/vendors (e.g. Ebsco) have not given Google a permission to collect data from their databases, which is why they are not included in Google Scholar search

Advantages   Open for all
Access to many full texts
Comprehensive, especially regarding conference publications as well as free and Open Access publications
Searches for information irrespective of country and language                                
Easy to use

Lack of transparency: no information which sources are covered by the search
Several important database vendors do not permit Google to crawl data from their databases; this is why e.g. the articles in EBSCO’s databases cannot be found via Google.
Errors in publication information (e.g. authors, year of publication) and in citations


The most common search features
Search for cited articles
Google Scholar metrics for evaluating journals

Bibliometric indicators   The total amount of citations, no other indicators. Indicators based on data in Google Scholar are available in the free programme Publish or Perish.
Refworks   Direct transfer to Refworks (the Refworks links are shown in the list of results when you choose Settings- Bibliography manager - show links to import citations - RefWorks)
Researcher profile   Google Scholar Citation

In your university's network the full text articles and journals acquired by your university can be accessed directly via Google Scholar. However, remote access to these same articles is available only via the Finna portal or via Google Scholar's Library links (Settings -> Library links -> Write the name of your university -> mark it -> Save)


Tools for Evaluating Scholarly Publications