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2014 – Scopus’ Year in Review


2014 was a great year for Scopus featuring lots of great releases, further content expansion for all content types and continuous product improvements based on your feedback. Let’s take a closer look at last year's high points:


  • First, 2014 marked the 10th anniversary of Scopus. Since its launch in 2004, Scopus has grown to become the largest abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature, containing 55 million records and more than 21,000 journals from all major fields.



Watch a visual overview of the last 10 years



Download the Research Trends Special Issue on the 10 years of Scopus



  • In combination with our 10 year anniversary, we initiated a site improvement program resulting in the launch of a more streamlined interface. This was followed by a redesign of the Author Profile Page as well as the introduction of a Simplified Chinese user interface and help files (to learn more about this release, check out the full release notes).


  • The independent and international Scopus Content Selection and Advisory Board (CSAB) came together twice to discuss Scopus’ content and content policies.  Topics discussed included publication ethics, title evaluation processes, content expansion and ongoing content development programs.


  • The Cited References Expansion project was launched, aiming to increase the depth of Scopus’ scholarly content while enhancing the ability to use Scopus for evaluation and trend analysis. Moreover, with cited references now going back to 1970, author profiles and h-index counts of researchers who published articles prior to 1996 will be more complete.


  • As part of the Scopus Book Titles Expansion program, our content operations team worked hard to process an increasing number of books, reaching 50,000+ titles by the end of the year. We expect to fully index 75,000 books by the end of the project.


  • November  2014 saw the announcement of two very important partnerships:
  1.  U.S. News & World Report, a leading U.S.-based publisher of education analysis and rankings, unveiled the inaugural Best Arab Region Universities rankings based on research data from Scopus and metrics powered by SciVal, Elsevier’s research metrics analysis tool.
  2. Times Higher Education (THE), a global leader in university rankings, announced their decision to work with the Scopus database and SciVal for its World University Ranking and other rankings including the 100 Under 50, Asia University and BRICS & Emerging Economies rankings.


Looking ahead, we are constantly seeking to improve both our content and functionality so as to keep pace with the evolving demands of the research community. For further insights as to what’s in store for the future, watch how key Elsevier thought leaders imagine tomorrow.

  Service Announcement: Scopus issue with search

Update (Saturday, December 20, 2014):

We are pleased to report that the issue with our search engine has been resolved, particularly with respect to cardinality and associated features. We are monitoring the system closely.  If you experience any other issues with Scopus, please contact the help desk using "Help and Contact" link in Scopus.


Original Post (Friday, December 19, 2014):

Scopus is experiencing an issue with its search engine, particularly with respect to cardinality. This means that in many instances, searches are returning incorrect record counts, citation counts, etc. despite the fact that the records themselves are in the index. Side effects include search results, affiliation and author result, record count is lower than actual. This is also causing issues with wild card searches in the advanced search field, returning inconsistent results in search.


We believe we have identified the root cause and will update when a fix has been identified. 

  UK REF 2014 results released (and they use Scopus data!)

Yesterday marks a key milestone in the United Kingdom's REF 2014 journey. Following initial consultations in 2007 through to the deadline for submissions in November 2013, 155 higher education institutions across the UK have dedicated a huge amount of time and resource to this process. The results published December 17 will highlight both the quality and non-academic impact of each institution’s research, and mark the culmination of years of hard work.


As the impact of the results begins to be felt in early 2015, Elsevier will continue to offer support to HEFCE and all institutions, helping them to navigate the vast field of data. Like all of those involved, we will be taking key learnings from this process, and look forward to further developing our national assessment offerings for customers around the world.


If you'd like to learn more about how Elsevier has supported the REF 2014 and how we support other national assessments, please make sure you look at these two great resources: ElsevierConnect article on national assessments and a case study on the REF 2014 highlighting the role played by Elsevier's products and services. And if you'd like to speak to an Elsevier Research Intelligence specialist, 'Contact Sales' and we'll get back to you.


Congratulations to all of the institutions and individuals involved on what is a great achievement.

  Scopus continues to add pre-1996 citations


In March, we launched the Cited Reference Expansion Program to include cited references in the Scopus database going back to 1970 for pre-1996 content. Our goal is to expand the ability for users to perform long-term, extensive bibliometric and historic trend analyses – and enhance h-indices for those researchers who published pre-1996.


As of November 1st we started re-indexing content and pre-1996 archives with cited references are now loaded on a daily basis. There are currently 500,000+ pre-1996 items with cited references in Scopus. This is having a positive impact on the h-index of senior researchers, making author profiles and h-index counts for these researchers more accurate and complete.


To illustrate this content improvement, we have been tracking the number of total citations and measuring the difference of the h-index for a sample set of authors from various subject areas between June and December. The initial results show there was a significant increase (85% on average) in their h-index, which is partly due to the change of the default time window for the h-index calculation from 1996 to 1970 and the first archive items with pre-1996 citations being loaded in Scopus.


For an example of pre-1996 citations of documents in the profile of an author who is active since 1984, see the screenshot below:


Do you have any questions about the Cited Reference Expansion Program?


Email us at and we’ll get back to you.

  Scopus increases interoperability with SciVal and introduces new journal metric

On December 4, Scopus released two important new features. The Scopus header has been redesigned to increase the interoperability with SciVal, Elsevier’s benchmarking and analytics product. Also a new journal metric called Impact per Publication (IPP) has been added to allow researchers and librarians better compare and evaluate journals.


Redesigned Scopus header: increased interoperabillity with SciVal
The Scopus header has been updated to align more closely with SciVal, Elsevier’s benchmarking and analytics product in the Elsevier Research Intelligence portfolio.  SciVal, launched in January 2014, is built on top of Scopus data and it allows users to compare and benchmark institutions, research areas and researchers.

Screenshot 1: Redesigned Scopus header


This change in the Scopus header is the first step to increase the interoperability between Scopus and SciVal making it easier for the user who has access to both applications to easily switch from one to the other, increasing the user efficiency.


Addition of the Impact per Publication (IPP) journal metric
This release includes the implementation of the latest journal metric, Impact per Publication (IPP), in the Scopus Compare Journals tool and elsewhere within the Scopus interface (where applicable). The IPP gives users a new metric to evaluate and compare journal performance that can help decide where to publish.


More information about the IPP metric can be found on


Screenshot 2: IPP values available in Scopus ‘Compare Journals’


Screenshot 3: IPP values available in the Scopus ‘Journal home page’



Read the full Release Notes for more information.


We welcome your feedback. Email us at

Release Date: 
December 4 2014

  Scopus and web accessibility


Held annually on December 3rd the International Day of People with Disabilities (IDPwD) is a United Nations-sanctioned day that aims to increase public awareness and promote the understanding of disability issues. This year one of the focus areas of IDPwD is the role of technology in creating enabling working environments.


Accessibility features in Scopus


At Elsevier we consistently and proactively work to make our products accessible to all users, regardless of their physical abilities. Accordingly, Scopus features and functions are designed to be accessible by all users and devices, enabling people with disabilities to access Scopus content quickly and easily.


Scopus takes a continuous improvement approach to web accessibility, testing new and existing pages for accessibility with each product release. Some of the accessibility features of Scopus include:


  • All primary functions in Scopus are operable using keyboard only, with logical tab order.

  • Search result pages show obvious highlighting of the row in focus to provide orientation for keyboard-only sighted users.

  • Scopus uses properly structured headings, allowing users of screen readers to navigate pages more quickly.

  • Graphical elements such as images and icons are supplemented by HTML text attributes.

  • Animated tutorials are also available as HTML text files.

  • Pages have unique and descriptive page titles to help orient users of screen readers.

  • All content and controls are compatible with screen enlargement software in addition to compatibility with built-in browser zoom functionality.

  • A skip navigation link is available for screen reader users.


Find out more about accessibility in Scopus on our infosite.


Elsevier & Accessibility


  Meet the Scopus celebrities


With a total of 55 million records, Scopus delivers a comprehensive overview of research in the fields of science, technology, medicine, social sciences, and the arts and humanities. Inevitably, some of the authors indexed in Scopus are bound to be more popular or have more impact than others.


Certain authors, however, are true celebrities of worldwide fame (achieved, incidentally, not merely on scientific merits). We'd like to introduce you to some of them.


Brian May: Rocking the astrophysics


Apart from being the lead guitarist of celebrated rock group Queen, English musician Brian May also studied physics and mathematics at Imperial College in London. He started his PhD on the motion of interplanetary dust particles in 1970 which, mainly due to musical commitments, he was finally able to complete in September 2007. Asteroid 52665 Brianmay is named in his honour.

See his author profile on Scopus


Natalie Portman: A Star Wars Queen in Harvard


Along with her ballet and modern dance studies, American-Israeli actressNatalie Portman (born Natalie Hershlag) also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Harvard University. During her studies in Harvard she contributed to a study on memory titled "Frontal lobe activation during object permanence: data from near-infrared spectroscopy". Thanks to her academic and acting careers, Portman has an Erdős-Bacon number of 7.

See her author profile on Scopus


Colin Firth: Ambassador for political neuroscience


Next to the wide recognition for his acting career, the Oscar-winning English actor is also credited as co-author of the neuroscience paper "Political Orientations Are Correlated with Brain Structure in Young Adults". The study, hailed as a "useful contribution" by New York University's Professor John Jost, was made possible after Firth's suggestion when he guest-edited Today programme on BBC Radio 4.

See his author profile on Scopus


Sure enough, Scopus features many more authors who can claim celebrity status (American actresses Mayim Bialik and Danica McKellar are a case in point). So stay alert: regardless of your research area, you never know whose name you could bump into when browsing through the results page!

  Service Announcement: Scopus experiencing issues with search

Update (11:30AM CET):

We are pleased to report that the issue with our search engine has been resolved, particularly with respect to cardinality and associated features. We are monitoring the system closely. Additionally, the Scopus and ORCID Author Feedback Wizard tools are also back online. If you experience any other issues with Scopus, please contact the help desk using "Help and Contact" link in Scopus.


Again, thank you for your patience. 


Original post:

Scopus is experiencing an issue with its search engine, particularly with respect to cardinality. This means that in many instances, searches are returning incorrect record counts, incorrect document and citation counts, etc. despite the fact that the records themselves are in the index. Side effects include degraded h-index calculations, and author publication counts. Other issues are becoming clearer as we monitor help desk reports.


We believe we have identified the root cause and are now in the process of implementing a fix. 


Because this issue is impacting document and citation counts, many users are attempting to fix their records via our Scopus and ORCID Author Feedback Wizard tools. In order to maintain the integrity of our troubleshooting efforts and to avoid erroneous troubleshooting attempts, we will be temporarily disabling the Author Feedback Wizards. It is possible that we may also temporarily disable the SciVal wizard. Additional updates will follow as the situation progresses.


Please stay tuned to this blog and/or Twitter for updates regarding our status and any other news related to this issue. We appreciate your patience and apologize for the inconvenience.

  Research Trends: Special Issue on the 10 years of Scopus


Since its launch in the fall of 2004, Scopus has established itself as the largest abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed research literature. In honor of the 10th anniversary of Elsevier’s bibliographical database, Research Trends recently published a Special Issue that looks back on these 10 years and illustrates how Scopus can be used in bibliometric studies of trends in the global science system.


For one of the issue’s contributions, Dr. Gali Halevi and Dr. Henk F. Moed conducted a comprehensive search on all Scopus data (limiting the results to full research articles only), coming up with a list of the most frequently cited articles published between 2001 and 2011 in eight main research areas. According to their findings, these were the top cited articles per research area:


Agricultural and Biological Sciences

MEGA4: Molecular Evolutionary Genetics Analysis (MEGA) software version 4.0 (2007)

Molecular Biology and Evolution, Vol. 24, No. 8, pp. 1596-1599.


Arts & Humanities

The complexity of intersectionality (2005)

Signs, Vol. 30, No. 3, pp. 1771-1800.



Geant4 developments and applications (2006)

IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science, Vol. 53, No. 1, pp. 270-278.


Chemical Engineering

On the development of proton conducting polymer membranes for hydrogen and methanol fuel cells (2001)

Journal of Membrane Science, Vol. 185, No. 1, pp.  29-39


Computer Science

Distinctive image features from scale-invariant keypoints (2004)

International Journal of Computer Vision, Vol. 60, No. 2, pp. 91-110.



The rise of graphene (2007)

Nature Materials, Vol. 6, No. 3, pp. 183-191.


Environmental  Science

Pharmaceuticals, hormones, and other organic wastewater contaminants in U.S. streams, 1999-2000: A national reconnaissance (2002)

Environmental Science and Technology, Vol. 36, No. 6, pp. 1202-121.



Risks and benefits of estrogen plus progestin in healthy postmenopausal women: Principal results from the women’s health initiative randomized controlled trial (2002)

Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol. 288, No. 3, pp. 321-333.


Other topics discussed in this Special Issue of Research Trends include an analysis of research trends in the domain of virology, current developments in the field of graphene research, patterns in co-authorship during the past 10 years, as well as trends in German publication output and its citation impact.


Although these studies look backwards in time, they also bear relevance to the present and future, as their outcomes and the explored bibliometric methodologies potentially contribute to a better understanding of the research process, and to an informed research policy.


To download the complete Research Trends Issue, click here.

  Times Higher Education choose Scopus data for its World University Ranking


As you can tell from this post’s title, we have some great news on the Scopus front today!


Times Higher Education (THE), a global leader in university rankings, has today announced their decision to work with the Scopus database and SciVal, Elsevier’s research metrics analysis tool, for its World University Ranking and other rankings including the 100 Under 50, Asia University and BRICS & Emerging Economies rankings.



THE Managing Director Trevor Barratt has this to say about the newly minted partnership, “Research publication data for the rankings will in the future be drawn from Elsevier’s Scopus database. The new data source will allow us to analyze a deeper range of research activity from a wider range of institutions than at present, including those institutions from emerging economies that account for a growing portion of the world’s research output and which have shown a great hunger for THE’s trusted global performance metrics.”



This is a great endorsement of the work we have done over the last 10 years– improving the quality of the Scopus database, the breadth of global coverage and developing the market-leading research metrics and benchmarking tool, SciVal.


Under the agreement with THE, Elsevier will also run their annual global academic reputation survey though THE will have ownership of the results and data behind the ranking indicators enabling them to be more transparent and accountable for their Rankings. Please ask your researchers to look out for their invitation to participate.


Want to see how your institution fares in Scopus? Use the ‘Affiliation Search’ in Scopus to check out your institution’s research output. And let us know if you’d like to learn more about Scopus or SciVal.


Scopus’ position on rankings is similar to our position on the general use of research metrics: a single metric provides a simple, clear point of reference that can be used as a benchmark and it is the combination of multiple metrics (combined with qualitative data and references) that can prove useful in making informed decisions. We believe that university rankings alone do not solve the complex problem of where and what a prospective student should study (or where academics should work). Rankings can, however, play a useful role in choosing where to study by offering comparative data that would otherwise not be available. Read more about our position on rankings on ElsevierConnect.


Have questions for us about Scopus or this partnership? Please reach out to us via email.