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Citation Analysis: 2. Scopus



Scopus is considered by many to be the primary competitor to the Web of Science database for citation analysis and journal ranking statistics.

The Scopus web site claims this database is the "largest abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature and quality web sources with smart tools to track, analyze and visualize research." It is more international in coverage than Web of Science and the Scopus interface is simple and intuitive to use.


But ...


A citation search in the Scopus is not a complete citation search:

  • Citation searching in Scopus only covers the titles include in this database.
  • Since Scopus was only released in 2004, it does not have the long established record of Web of Science.
  • Citation tracking in Scopus is only available for articles published from 1996 to the present. 
  • In the past, coverage was considered weak and uneven in some areas such as physics, astronomy, math, sociology, philosophy, theology, arts and literature.



This guide will show how to use Scopus to:


Find the Citation Count for a Publication


  1. Access Scopus (sign in for off-campus use, if necessary)


  1. Using the drop-down menu on the basic search option, select "Source Title" then enter the title of the journal and click the search button.
  2. If necessary,  refine your results in order to include only the journal you want. To do this select the box next to that title and click the "limit to" button.

  3. Scroll down to the list of results and check the box "select all" then click the "cited by" button, immediately to the left of this check box.

  4. The resulting list of articles are all of those which cited something in the particular journal title you searched.



Be aware: The citation count will only include the number of times the publication was cited by articles from the journals that Scopus covers.  Scopus does not count citations from every journal published around the world, nor does this method count citations from books, conference proceedings, dissertations/theses, patents, technical reports or other types of publications.

    Determine What Journal Articles Have Cited a Publication


    This section will demostrate how to find the number of times a particular article has been cited within the Scopus database.

    1. Enter the title of the article for your citation analysis using the Basic Search. Use quotation marks around the title if you would like to search the terms together.
    2. Keep the default drop-down menu option "Article Title, Abstract, Keyword."
    3. For a more detailed search which includes the author(s)  of this article click on the link "add search field" and choose the appropriate field to search from the drop-down menu.
    4. The article will appear in a search results list and the column to the far right will have the number of times this article has been cited within Scopus.
    5. Clicking on the number listed under the "Times cited" column will take you to a list of the articles which cited the article you searched.
    6. You may find it even more helpful to click on the "Abstracts + Refs" button, located under the article title on the search results page. This will show you the references used by this author for this article along with those articles which cited the article in their own research.

    Eliminate Self-Citations From a Citation Count


    These instructions demonstrate how to eliminate articles from a citation analysis in which the author cites him or herself.

    1. Select the "Author Search" tab on the Scopus search page.
    2. Enter the last name of an author and the first initial for the broadest search.
    3. Select one or more names from the list of results, based on affiliation, subject area and location.
    4. Click on the "View Citation Overview" button at the top of the list of results.
    5. You will be taken to the Citation Overview page for this/these authors.
    6. In the "Overview Options" box at the top of this page choose to exclude "self citations from selected authors" by checking the appropriate box.
    7. Click the "Update Overview" button to remove these self-citations.

    Get a Citation Analysis Report for an Author

    Scopus has several ways which make it very easy to get detailed citation information on specific authors.





    Author Search

    1.  Access Scopus (sign in for off campus use, if necessary)

    2.  Select the Author Search tab and enter the author name and click the search button. For the broadest search enter the last name and only the first initial of the first name.


    3.  The search results page will diplay all authors with citations in the Scopus database.

      Be Aware: Look at the subject area and affiliation for each author listed. Multiple listings may in fact be referencing the same person.

    4. Select one or more of the authors on the search results page by checking the box next to the name or using the select all feature at the top of the results list then click the Citation tracker button at the top of the list to see a Citation Overview report.

      Author Details Report

      For a quick report on a specific author which contains detailed information including then number of articles by this author in Scopus, number of times the author is cited within Scopus, co-authors, subject areas, h-index and more click on either the author icon or the "Details" link in the documents column from the author search results page.



    Using the Author Detail Icon From an Article Abstract

    1. Search for an article from the basic search box in Scopus, using key terms, author name or any options available from the basic search drop down menu.

    2. Select an article of interest from the results page and click on the button.

    3. Look for the author details icon () and and click on this icon for any of the authors listed on the abstract for detailed information which includes:
    • The number of articles by this author indexed in Scopus and a direct link to these articles.
    • The number of references this author used in his or her articles and a direct link to these references.
    • A link to information about co-authors
    • A list of journals and other sources where this author published
    • Affiliation history for this author


    Create a Citaton Analysis Report for a Department or Research Center


    (Under Construction)

    Determine the Most Highly Cited Papers for an Author

    1. Access Scopus
    2. Follow the instructions above for Author Search to access the Citation Tracker report.

    3. Once on the Citation Overview screen choose to sort documents in descending order from the drop-down menu in the Overview Options box. Click the "Update Overview" button to resort the list of citations and see which one has been cited the most.

    Determine the Most Highly Cited Papers for a Journal

    This method can only be used for journals covered in Scopus; variant citations are not included in the citation determination.

    • Access Scopus (sign in for off campus use, if necessary)

    • Use the Basic Search box but select  "Source Title" from the dropdown menu, enter the full journal title and click the search button.

    •  On the results page, click on the column header "Cited by" at the far right to sort the resulting articles by times cited. The article which has been cited the most times will appear at the top of the list of results.

    Set Up a Citation Alert for a Journal Article

    To be notified whenever an article of interest is cited, use the "Citation Alert" feature.   This feature is only available for articles that appeared in a journal covered by the Web of Science.

    • Access Scopus (sign in for off campus use, if necessary)
    • Login to your personal account using the "Sign In" link at the top of the page.
      Citation Alerts require registration (free); to register, click on the "Sign In" link at the top of the page, in the left column, click on the "Register" link and follow instructions.
    • Use the "Basic Search" to find the article. 
    • On the results list, click on the Abstracts + Ref button for the article.
    • In the Cited by box at the right, click on the "E-mail Alert" link. Alerts are automatically set for one year.
    • To edit or remove an alert, click on the "My Alerts" button at the top of the page, just under the Scopus header; when your alerts are displayed, click the "Edit" link to edit the alert or select the alert and click the "Delete" button a specific alert from your list.


    Much of the content of this guide is based on a guide created at University of Michigan Library and which can be viewed here. Thank you to the group that created that guide and allowed us to make use of the content for our own guide.

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