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Three tips for managing Scopus organization profiles for complex institutions

September 15, 2021

By Linda Willems, Henri Bretel

In this case study, Bibliometrics Officer Henri Bretel shares the key lessons he’s learned during his time with France’s Université Paris-Saclay

In his role as Bibliometrics Officer at Université Paris-Saclay, Henri Bretel* works with Scopus on a daily basis. When he isn’t using the university’s Scopus organization profile to generate metrics, he’s working to refine the profile or review his institution’s data in the various international university rankings—a number of which use Scopus data.

While the tasks in Henri’s role may seem straightforward, the ever-changing structure of Université Paris-Saclay is quite the opposite. “We are big, complex and never stop evolving,” explains Henri.

Université Paris-Saclay was established in 2019, uniting 14 higher education and research institutions in the south-west region of Paris, France: three old universities, four engineering schools, and seven research organizations. Henri is the first to admit that the structure and logistics can get quite complicated. For example, while the universities and engineering school have their own diplomas, curricula, grants and autonomy, the master’s degrees and PhDs are delivered by the Université Paris-Saclay and are jointly operated by the institutions.

Henri Bretel

For Henri, that means working in partnership with his Elsevier consultant to keep the hierarchy and publication data in Scopus up to date and respond to the requests and requirements of various internal partners.

What is a Scopus organization profile?

It is a complete picture of your organization’s scholarly output. Developing a profile is a joint effort.

Provided by Universite Paris-Saclay

Capturing the hierarchy of Université Paris-Saclay in Scopus

Université Paris-Saclay and its various component institutions comprise a single organization profile in Scopus. What does that mean in practice? In the case of the Documents, whole institution figure in the screenshot below, it means it captures documents from both the core university (the parent), its component institutions (the children) and any alternate names those institutions are known by.

Affiliation details for Universite Paris-Saclay

According to Henri, building the organization profile with Elsevier was a long and careful process as the status of the 14 institutions varies: “Some have already merged with Université Paris-Saclay, while others still exist as independent universities that also need their own profile. And our laboratories are usually shared with other research organizations, so we have to be careful we don’t incorrectly claim their publications.”

Henri’s tips for managing an organization profile for a large or complex institution

Tip #1: Want to add an alternate name or change a name or address? Use the Institution Profile Wizard’s Modify profile option

The Scopus Institution Profile Wizard, also known as the IPW, is a tool that enables authorized users at your university to submit organization profile change requests to the Scopus Institutional Correction Team. You can select from three options:

  • Modify hierarchy

  • Modify profile

  • Create profile

Depending on the complexity of the request, changes are processed within a few days to two weeks. According to Henri, the IPW was built by Elsevier to support Université Paris-Saclay with its multiple change requests when the new university launched.

Scopus Institutional Profile Wizard

Henri says: “It’s a user-friendly interface and with the Modify profile module, you can submit change requests for your organization. In my experience, most of the time the IPW is a quick and easy way to add a new alternate name or remove an affiliation that is causing false positives to appear.

“You can also change names and addresses quite easily; you just need to provide some evidence to support the changes you are requesting.”

Tip #2: Looking to make complex or multiple changes? Consider taking another route

When it comes to adjusting the hierarchy of Université Paris-Saclay’s organization profile, Henri often turns to his consultant for help. “While the Modify hierarchy module in the IPW is very powerful, in addition to our university profile and 14 institution profiles, we have 300 laboratory profiles – which, in some cases, we share with other institutions – so it’s not always the best option for us.” He also contacts his consultant if the change he needs is urgent: “For example, if I need really clean data for an international ranking.”

If Henri has multiple change requests, he finds it beneficial to use the Excel template his consultant has given him. “It lets me do the exact same changes as the IPW, but without the user interface, and I can then discuss the changes with my consultant.”

If your organization is particularly large or complex, Henri recommends using an Excel template to:

  • Submit multiple organization changes at the same time

  • Request the addition of a profile to your organization following a merger

  • Add alternate names that are considered outside your institution

  • Create new affiliation profiles (even if they have existing publications)

Tip #3: Don’t forget to regularly check your Scopus organization profile and hierarchy

Henri explains: “It’s important to keep an eye on what’s changing as 1) the database evolves pretty quickly, and 2) in my case, my institution is evolving too. He adds: “After any change, don't forget to check whether it appears in your SciVal profile. If it doesn’t, you can request a new synchronization.”

Université Paris-Saclay by the numbers

  • Offers 67 master’s programs

  • Is home to 10 percent of doctoral candidates in France

  • Produces over 12,000 scientific publications every year

  • Has spawned 10 Fields medalists

  • Represents 13 percent of French R&D

  • Ranks 1st in France and 3rd in Europe for ERC grants

  • Has generated 300 new start-ups since 2004

Library of Chatenay-Malabry, Provided by Universite Paris-Saclay

*Henri shared his case study at Elsevier’s virtual Pan-European User Conference for SciVal & Scopus. The 630+ live attendees included university research officers, librarians and strategy specialists from more than 41 countries in the region. It was the first Europe-wide event of its kind, set up in response to interest from Scopus and SciVal users about how best to measure and understand the impact of COVID-19 on their research activities.


Portrait photo of Linda Willems


Linda Willems

Freelance writer and owner

Blue Lime Communications

Read more about Linda Willems


Henri Bretel

He has been in charge of the bibliometrics for the university since 2018. His role is to define, produce and verify bibliometric data for international rankings and institutional research management.

Université Paris-Saclay in France