Citation Tracking Tools to Soup Up Your Secondary Research: Scopus

March 10, 2017 / By: John Heintz and Merrie Davidson, Libraries

Have you been looking for some more sophisticated citation tracking tools? The Libraries may have part of the answer for you: we recently subscribed to Scopus. The database covers all fields in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities.

Scopus bills itself as "the largest abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature: scientific journals, books and conference proceedings." Hosted by Elsevier, Scopus provides abstract and citation information currently for over 21,500 peer-reviewed journals (including 4,200 full open access journals), 360 trade publications, over 530 book series, some 7.2 million conference papers from over 83,000 worldwide events, “Articles-in-Press” from over 5,000 journals, more than 120,000 books. While no such database is fully comprehensive, those are impressive numbers which should continue to grow.

Citation indexes like Scopus are excellent tools to track the scholarly conversation on research topics by highlighting the linkages between works and providing citation counts. Scopus also provides various metrics at the article, author, journal, and institution level. 

Search Results

To use Scopus in your research, try some topical searches just like you might in any other article database. Search for a term, phrase, or combination of concepts. Scopus will display a list of search results including title, author, journal, etc., as well as the number of times the article has been cited. Features of the results page include:

  • results can be sorted by relevance, publication date, or # of times cited
  • filter by date ranges, discipline, document type, affiliation, and other criteria
  • set search alerts via email or RSS feed
  • "Analyze Search Results" button provides descriptive statistics and graphics by publication year, source, author, affiliation, and other criteria. 

Article View

Within an individual item record, click to see the list of other publications that cite the current item, as well as the list of references in the current item, allowing you to trace the scholarly conversation backwards and forwards in time. A number of article metrics are displayed, including:

  • raw citation counts and by year
  • field-weighted citation impact (rates articles relative to similar ones in the discipline)
  • percentile benchmark within the field
  • Mendeley and CiteULike activity.

Journal Ranking

Journals are rated using a "CiteScore" measure, then ranked in order/percentile each year. The journal pages also display the SCImago Journal Rank score and the Source Normalized Impact per Paper score.

Author Results

The author pages are attractively laid out, listing the indexed works, their citation counts by year, and showing the author's current h-index metric. It also includes several graphical analysis links for the author's works.

Other tips

  • Use the "Compare Sources" tool to view metrics for a list of journals you pick to help decide where to publish your work.
  • Register with Scopus to use alerts and saved searches
  • Consult Scopus's Help pages (includes video tutorials)

We hope you'll take the time to check out Scopus and put it through its paces. If you have questions, feel free to contact John Heintz (; 651-962-5018) or Merrie Davidson (; 651-962-4661) or your assigned liaison librarian.