Subscribers to Elsevier's Scopus have a new tool to aid in evaluating journal performance over time. On May 23, Elsevier announced the release of the Scopus Journal Analyzer, which claims to include access to data on every title in the Scopus database. The tool isn't without limitations, however, and Elsevier promises more product enhancements in the future.
While in Scopus, users can mark up to 10 records-selected from subject lists or created by double-clicking on journal titles, subject area, ISSN, or publisher. The resulting three graphs compare the journals by the total citations, number of articles published by each journal over time, and a trend line of the number of citations received in a given year. By hovering your mouse over the nodes, the actual numbers are displayed in a box so that the data can be more easily viewed. Comparing journals has its advantages; however, the variations in publication patterns (number of issues of some journal in a given year) and number of articles per journal can sometimes make the graphs more confusing than useful.
The Scopus database has been built to include h-index data at the author level, journal level, and article level (where the user can select a set of documents and the h-index is automatically generated within the Scopus Citation Tracker). However, serious bibliometricians are bound to be frustrated by the product's current limitations: Only up to 10 journals can be compared at a time, and users are not able to download the data for further analysis. The presentations allow no ability to manipulate, tailor, or download data-a major drawback in this initial release.
Each of the three charts carries the warning that "Scopus does not have complete citation information for articles published before 1996." Having used "multiple focus groups and user tests," Niels Weertman, director for product management at Scopus notes, "We are confident it addresses their real needs." Elsevier reportedly is very aware of the eagerness of its users to do bibliometrics with its data and is looking into developing the feature further to allow this type of functionality.
Scopus was created to compete with Thomson Scientific's Web of Science (WoS), originally created by Eugene Garfield, and to build on Elsevier's growing dominance in scholarly publishing. Juan Gorraiz, librarian at the Universität Wien in Austria, notes that "if Scopus wants to be a serious alternative to WoS, it must also facilitate bibliometric analyses and provide the necessary data."
Gorraiz believes that the Journal Analyzer is "a first step" in that direction. Interestingly, Elsevier, itself, still cites WoS's Impact Factor data on websites for its own various journal titles.
"The Scopus Journal Analyzer can really provide users with an at-a-glance overview of the publishing and citation patterns for a selection of up to ten selected journals within minutes," adds Weertman, "providing researchers with a direction for further analysis, and saving them valuable time in their assessment."
More information on Scopus is available at www.info.scopus.com.
Comparing Journal Citation Reports (JCR) & Scopus Journal Analyzer (SJA)
Dates of coverage
# Science Journals
# Social Science Journals
# Arts/Humanities Journals
Select Journals by subject
Select Journals by title
Select by ISSN, etc.
Sorting on displayed fields
Metrics used for analysis
multiple measures presented***
yes, delimited files
* Figures based on most recent available versions of the databases
** Some earlier data is available but, apparently, not comprehensively
*** These include: Journal Impact Factor, Journal Immediacy Index, Journal Cited Half-Life, Journal Citing Half-Life, and Journal Source Data
Figure 1: This first graph shows the number of citations attributed to a particular journal (or set of journals) by citing documents over time.
Figure 2: The second graph illustrates the publication output for a journal or set of journals in number of articles.
Figure 3: The third graph provides an overview of the ratio of the previous two variables—citations received in a given year divided by the number of documents published by that journal over that year.