Scopus: a must-have resource for reviewers
Everybody who reviews a paper for an Elsevier journal is entitled to 30 days access to Scopus. It is a nice incentive for somebody to review a paper, and also provides them with access to the broadest source of essential peer-reviewed literature. Scopus covers around 20,500 titles from more than 5,000 publishers world-wide. It has substantial coverage in subject fields ranging from Science, Technology & Medicine (STM) to Arts & Humanities, with titles originating from almost all geographical regions. However, expansive coverage does not mean lower standards. Title selection is done by the Scopus Content Selection & Advisory Board (CSAB) according to a set of strict selection criteria. Scopus is selective, because it aims to help users, researchers and reviewers to find the best and most appropriate content as quickly and as efficiently as possible.
Scopus content selection
Quality is one of the most important selection criteria that the CSAB looks at when reviewing titles for Scopus coverage. The review process is a combination of quantitative and qualitative measures and the quality of a journal is often easier to recognize than to define. However in general terms, the quality of a journal is defined by:
- Conformity with established best publication industry practice in respect of format and publication ethics malpractice;
- Originality, credibility and trustworthiness of content;
- Utility and accessibility of the journal content to the community it serves;
- And ultimately, the sustainability of a title and the ability to attract authors, reviewers, editors, readers and citations.
That Scopus and the CSAB indeed is selective is shown by the fact that less than half of reviewed titles in the end are accepted for Scopus coverage. With around 1,500 titles reviewed per year, this still means that Scopus is growing its journal coverage and it will soon reach the impressive number of 50 million articles in the database.
So, what is in it for me as a reviewer?
With 50 million articles in the database, Scopus is a must-have resource of high quality publications which can be of great use for a reviewer. It can be used to carry out a quick and easy literature search. For a reviewer this means it is easy to search for a particular publication, to search for the most recent or relevant research published in a particular subject field, or to search for research published by a particular author, institution or journal.
Bibliometrics is a field of research that uses quantitative measures to assess research output in, for example, a subject field, country, journal, or by researchers and their institutions. Citations are a form of endorsement and by counting citations the scientific impact of a body of work can be measured. Citation information is included in Scopus and you can view and analyze these citations and determine the scientific impact of a group of papers. In measuring of the impact of journals, Scopus has endorsed the journal metrics, SNIP (Source Normalised Impact per Paper) and SJR (SCImago Journal Rank):
- SNIP takes into account the field in which a journal operates, smoothing differences between field-specific properties such as the number of citations per paper, the amount of indexed literature, and the speed of the publication process.
- SJR takes into account the prestige of the citing journal: citations are weighted depending on whether they come from a journal with a high or low SJR.
As a reviewer, journal metrics can, for example, be used to determine the impact of a journal in which the author of a manuscript has published in before and can compare the impact of this journal with other journals in the field. For more information on the journal metrics, see http://www.journalmetrics.com/
Besides citations to and from articles in the database, Scopus also captures author and affiliation information from published articles and creates profiles. This enables to quickly find an author profile with information on affiliation history, the number of published documents, citations, h-index, co-authors and the journals the author has published in. This makes it easy for a reviewer to analyze citations a particular author has received, providing an indication of the impact and prestige of that author. In addition you will see a network of people the author has published with.
In Scopus the search experience can be customized with SciVerse Applications. These Applications can be turned on or off by the individual user and can enhance the user’s search results or can match Scopus data with third party data.
For example, for a reviewer it may be useful to get an idea of what subjects an author has published on before. With the Wordle App it is possible to make a word cloud of terms and words used in the titles of the documents this author has produced. This provides a quick overview of the subject terms a specific author is working on.
Another example is the Altmetric for Scopus App, which quickly provides an overview of the societal impact of a research article. With the Altmetric App it is possible to see all social or mainstream media mentions gathered for a particular paper as well as reader counts on popular reference managers. In addition to the scientific impact of a paper measured by its citations, the societal impact of a paper may be relevant as well. Moreover, citations may take years to generate, tweets, reader counts on Mendeley and other mentions can happen instantly after a paper is published.
Senior Product Manager
Wim holds a PhD in Organic Chemistry from the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. After being a postdoc at Harvard Medical School in Boston USA, he changed from being an active researcher to research administration by joining the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) as Program Manager for Chemical Sciences. In 2006 he joined Elsevier as a Publishing Editor and later as Publisher for the Animal Science, Forensic Science and Legal Medicine journal portfolios. Currently Wim is Senior Product Manager for Scopus in the Academic and Government Markets (A&GM) Product Group. In this role, he is responsible for the content selection and content strategy for Scopus.