Author: Ana Pérez-Escoda Translation: Erika-Lucia Gonzalez-Carrion

The multiplication of channels, index, metrics, publications and impacts needs, as in other areas where information is also multiplied, an appropriate literacy that leads to the researcher in their different roles: author, researcher and professor. It is a field in which the researcher must have knowledge to plan his or her strategy and to guide rightly its scientific production, knowing and giving to know the outcome of his or her investigation.



It is essential for any researcher to know the main databases where to consult and access to the best scientific work and also where to spread it. Lets know the most relevant databases not only about research but also about diffusion of research: Web of Science and Scopus.

Web of Science (WOS) is the broader platform of scientific information provided by Thomson Reuters (which was acquired by Onex Corporation and Baring Private Equity Asia last October) for the consultation of databases of the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI), its purpose is not offering the text or summaries (although they can be consulted), but to provide analytical tools allowing to assess the scientific quality of the publications. It includes three databases for areas: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCIE), Social Science Citation Index (SCCI) and Arts & Humanities Citation Index (AHCI) to which it was added in 2015 Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI).

Scopus is the wider database of bibliographic references with abstracts and citations of reviewed scientific literature (peer-review): 21.900 titles of journals (1,800 in open access) from more than 5.000 international publishers and 55 millions of records (including patents, websites and information of scientific production of journals of all disciplines).


The use of these databases is, therefore, essential to search, find and consult the most significant scientific publications in different areas of knowledge. Publishing in journals indexed in Scopus or in the Web of Science, which means the visibility of the author in these databases, is to ensure the adequate and necessary diffusion of our scientific production so it reaches to all of the potential audiences: researchers, libraries, universities, students and professors who want to be updated on any topic of interest. Therefore, they will be allied tools of the researcher for the emptying of current and thematic bibliography, for his or her visibility as an author, as well as a field of reference for the search of journals where to publish.

The use of these databases benefits to all those involved actors: publications, institutions and authors. This can be seen translated into indicators and metrics that offer:


  • JCR, Journal Citation Reports, is a well-known indicator of quality as well as it is appreciated by the agencies that assess the research activity.
  • InCites is an assessment tool based on cites that allow to compare the scientific productivity, very useful for academic and governmental administrators to analyze their institutional productivity.
  • Essential Science Indicators (ESI) available through ISI Web of Science allows measuring the scientific performance and to track research trends.
  • ResearcherID is the solution from Thomson Reuters to create a profile of the author with the assignment of an identifier that makes it unique, avoiding repetitions and coincidences that dilute the identity of some authors who share name and last names.


  • CiteScore is the most innovative index of Elsevier available to the scientific community, which calculates the average number of citations received from a publication in a certain year with respect to the average of the cites of the previous three years. It is updated monthly which differs from the impact factor of Thomson Reuters which is updated yearly.
  • SJR (Scimago Journal and Country Rank) offers a ranking of journals whose reputation is reflected by the number of citations weighted by document published in relation to the number of published documents.
  • SNIP (Source Normalized Impact per Paper), measures the impact of a cite according to the characteristics of the field of knowledge where it is integrated.
  • Index h, is an average between the number of citations and the number of publications of an author, widely used lately in research evaluation systems.
  • Scopus ID which gives an identification number for each author in Scopus, makes that each author can be identified without fear of confusion caused by full names and last names often shared by various authors.


The access to both databases passes through a national license managed by FECYT (Fundación Española para la Ciencia y la Tecnología) in its Scientific Resources Portal. Any institution with access to these databases, obtains by FECYT improved conditions and specific training.

If we do not have institutional access, in the case of Scopus it is very useful the free and open access to SRJ, tool developed by SCIMAGO Lab, research group of the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC) and by the universities of Granada, Extremadura, Carlos III (Madrid) and Alcalá de Henares. The SJR offers three types of searches: by publication, by country and by graphics which allows to observe in an innovative way how the publications of impact are distributed according to different variables: areas of knowledge, geography, etc.

To know, to use and to access to WOS and Scopus results in the Quality of the references, in facilitating the Access to the scientific information and in the Selection of magazines to publish, themes addressed in this blog and that complement perfectly the content of this post.

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