Content Policy and Selection

You need quality content, and Scopus delivers: An overview for individual researchers

For your research to be the best that it can be, you need access to the most up-to-date and highest quality interdisciplinary content out there. This is why Scopus has a clearly stated selection policy and an internationally acclaimed board of selection experts so you can be sure that what you see on Scopus meets your high standards.

While most of the information provided on this page is written for publishers wishing to have their content included on Scopus, we invite you to read on. We hope you'll get a sense of the level of scrutiny and focus on authority that is the hallmark of Scopus.

Continuously reviewing and expanding Scopus: What publishers need to know

As the largest indexer of global research content, Scopus includes titles from more than 5,000 publishers worldwide. These journals, books and conference papers are visible to millions of Scopus users, who in turn read your content and then cite it in their papers, in grant applications and reports, or in patent applications. To ensure that Scopus serves the broad information needs of researchers, our Content Selection & Advisory Board (CSAB) continuously reviews suggestions and publishing programs in order to expand our content listings.

Scopus helps to:

  • Increase the visibility of your publication(s)
  • Give you access to a global audience of researchers and experts for peer review programs
  • Track the performance of your publication(s)
  • Monitor competitive publications.

Title evaluation process

We're proud of our transparent selection process and independent review board. The international experts on our content selection and advisory board continually review new titles using both quantitative and qualitative measures. Only serial titles may be suggested to the content selection and advisory board for inclusion on Scopus. Serials include journals, book series or conference series. Suggestions may be made by publishers or editors of a title. Individual researchers and librarians can also suggest titles for Scopus, but these suggestions need the support from the publisher and/or editor. Before suggesting a serial title, please:

The individual who suggests a title and the publisher (if different) will be informed about the outcome of the review and reason(s) for the decision. You can also track the progress of the evaluation process by entering the unique Tracking ID provided at the time of submission into the Title Evaluation Tracker.

Journal selection criteria

To be considered for review, all journal titles should meet all of these minimum criteria:

  • Consist of peer-reviewed content and have a publicly available description of the peer review process
  • Be published on a regular basis and have an International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) as registered with the ISSN International Centre
  • Have content that is relevant for and readable by an international audience, meaning: have references in Roman script and have English language abstracts and titles
  • Have a publicly available publication ethics and publication malpractice statement

CSAB members have deep subject matter expertise, and are committed to actively seeking out and selecting literature that meets the needs and standards of the research community that they represent. Journals eligible for review by the CSAB will be evaluated on the following criteria in five categories:

Category

Criteria

Journal Policy

Convincing editorial policy
Type of peer review
Diversity in geographical distribution of editors
Diversity in geographical distribution of authors

Content

Academic contribution to the field
Clarity of abstracts
Quality of and conformity to the stated aims and scope of the journal
Readability of articles

Journal Standing

Citedness of journal articles in Scopus
Editor standing

Publishing Regularity

No delays or interruptions in the publication schedule

Online Availability

Full journal content available online
English language journal home page available
Quality  of journal home page

Title Re-evaluation

The quality of our content is paramount for Scopus. In addition to journals undergoing a rigorous evaluation and selection processes prior to acceptance into Scopus, they must also demonstrate the ability to maintain their quality status year over year.

To determine journal quality, Scopus runs the annual Re-evaluation program which identifies outlier and underperforming journals in three different ways:

  1. Scopus identifies underperforming journals for Re-evaluation by using six metrics and benchmarks which all journals in the database must meet year after year. If a journal does not meet any of the six benchmarks for two consecutive years, the CSAB will re-evaluate the journal based on the Scopus title selection criteria with as potential outcome discontinuation of the journal its forward flow from Scopus.
  2. Scopus identifies outlier journals for Re-evaluation by running the data analytics tool ‘Radar’ on an annual basis. This tool identifies journals demonstrating outlier behaviors such as sudden and exponential article output growth, unexplainable and sudden changes to affiliation country, or high journal self-citation rates, amongst others. All journals identified by the Radar tool will be re-evaluated by the CSAB in the year of identification. CSAB review is based on the Scopus title selection criteria and may result in discontinuation of the journal’s forward flow from Scopus.
  3. Journals for which users, buyers or stakeholders have publication concerns will be added to Re-evaluation if the claim is identified as legitimate. The journal will be re-evaluated by the CSAB in the year of identification based on the Scopus title selection criteria with as potential outcome discontinuation of the journal its forward flow from Scopus.

1. Metrics and benchmarks

Once a year, Scopus analyzes the performance of all journals in the database. All journals must meet the below six metrics and benchmarks:

Metric

Benchmark not met when

Explanation

Self-citation rate

≥200% compared to the average in its subject fields

The journal has a self-citation rate two times higher, or more, when compared to peer journals in its subject field.

Total citation rate

≤50% compared to the average in its subject fields

The journal received half the number of citations, or less, when compared to peer journals in its subject field.

CiteScore

≤50% compared to the average in its subject fields

The journal has a CiteScore half or less than the average CiteScore, when compared to peer journals in its subject field.

Number of articles

≤50% compared to the average in its subject fields

The journal produced half, or less, the number of articles, when compared to peer journals in its subject field.

Number of full-text clicks on Scopus.com

≤50% compared to the average in its subject fields

The journal's full texts are used half as much, or less, when compared to peer journals in its subject field.

Abstract usage on Scopus.com

≤50% compared to the average in its subject fields

The journal's abstracts are used half as much, or less, when compared to peer journals in its subject field.

If a journal does not meet any of the six benchmarks, Scopus will inform the journal of its quality performance and will allow the journal one year to improve at least one metric. If one year later the journal could improve at least one metric, the journal will not be part of Re-evaluation that year. However, if a journal does not meet all of the six benchmarks for two consecutive years, it will be flagged for re-evaluation by the independent Scopus Content Selection and Advisory Board (CSAB).

The review criteria for re-evaluation are identical to the Scopus content selection criteria used for newly suggested titles. Upon completion of the re-evaluation process, the CSAB will decide to either continue a journal’s coverage or to discontinue the forward flow of the journal its coverage in Scopus (content covered in Scopus prior to the re-evaluation completion will remain in Scopus).

For more details on the re-evaluation metrics title workflow and timelines, please view: Scopus Re-evaluation Workflow and Timelines (pdf 493 kb).

2. Radar

In 2017 the Radar tool was launched, which is an Elsevier-made data analytics algorithm trained to identify outlier journal behavior in the Scopus database. Outlier journal examples include rapid and unexplainable changes to number of articles published or unexplainable changes in geographical diversity of authors or affiliations. Other features that the algorithm considers are self-citation rate and publication concerns, amongst others. The tool improves continuously by new examples or rules added to it and will initially run once a year checking the full Scopus journal base of around 22,800 titles for outlier behavior.

Journals flagged by the Radar tool will be added to the Re-evaluation process and will be re-evaluated by the CSAB in the year of identification by the Radar tool. The review criteria for re-evaluation are identical to the Scopus content selection criteria used for newly suggested titles. Upon completing the re-evaluation process, the CSAB will decide to either continue a journal’s coverage or to discontinue the forward flow of the journal coverage in Scopus (content covered in Scopus prior to the re-evaluation completion will remain in Scopus).

3. Publication concerns

A journal can also be flagged for Re-evaluation based on publication concerns on either publisher or journal level. Concerns for such journals are identified by Scopus, or flagged to Scopus by the research community and are taken seriously. If the concern is legitimate, the title will be added to the Re-evaluation program and re-evaluated by the CSAB in the year of identification of the publication concern. The review criteria for re-evaluation are identical to the Scopus content selection criteria used for newly suggested titles. Upon completing the re-evaluation process, the CSAB will decide to either continue a journal’s coverage or to discontinue the forward flow of the journal coverage in Scopus (content covered in Scopus prior to the re-evaluation completion will remain in Scopus).

Titles discontinued from Scopus via the Re-evaluation process can be identified via the Discontinued Sources List

For questions, please contact re-evaluation@scopus.com

Publication Ethics and Publication Malpractice Statements

Publication malpractice is an unfortunate occurrence in the world of scholarly literature. It happens in all subject areas and in all jurisdictions; and few journals or books are immune. The prevention of publication malpractice is the responsibility of every author, editor, reviewer, publisher and institution.

Scopus requires that every journal we index has clear and publicly available statements of publication ethics and publication malpractice. Scopus will hold each publisher listed in the database accountable for the performance and compliance with these policies. Scopus does not mandate any specific wording of publication ethics and publication malpractice statements, but notes that:

  • Major publishers already publish comprehensive statements of compliance on their websites. See Elsevier for an example.
  • A number of industry organizations publish comprehensive guidelines and advice that can be readily adopted by any publisher. Such notable organizations include:
    • Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE)
    • World Association of Medical Editors (WAME)
    • International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE)
    • Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT)
  • Guidelines for what a Publication Ethics and Malpractice Statement should adhere to (PEMS)

For more information on the importance of Ethics in Research and Publication, see http://www.ethics.elsevier.com or watch this webinar.

Scope and selection criteria for books

Scopus covers scholarly books that represent fully-referenced, original research or literature reviews.

  1. Subject areas: Focus on Social sciences and Arts & Humanities (A&H), but also Science, Technology & Medicine (STM)
  2. Book types: Monographs, edited volumes, major reference works, graduate level text books
  3. NOT in scope: Dissertations, undergraduate-level text books, Atlas, Yearbook, Biography, Popular science books, manuals, etc.

Book selection is via a publisher-based approach (no individual book suggestions are considered). As the selection is evaluated on a per publisher basis, the Content Selection and Advisory Board (CSAB) is not involved in the evaluation of this content type. A dedicated group of highly educated individuals are responsible for the publisher selection process. For those selected publishers, all books deemed "in scope " will be covered.

Publishers can suggest their books for Scopus coverage via the Scopus Books Suggestion form. Books will only be considered for evaluation if they meet the following minimum criteria:

  1. All books must contain ISBNs.
  2. All books must be available in digital format (PDF or xml).
  3. All metadata must be captured in ONIX or MARC.
  4. All metadata must contain BIC or BISAC subject area codes.
  5. All book content must be in the English language.
  6. Book types in scope are: Monographs, edited volumes, major reference works, and graduate level text books.

Those book lists from publishers that meet the minimum criteria will be reviewed according to the following selection criteria:

  1. Reputation and impact of the publisher
  2. Size and subject area of the books list (subject area(s) Arts & Humanities and/or Social Sciences are preferred).
  3. Availability and format of the book content
  4. Publication policy and editorial mission
  5. Quality of published book content

A dedicated team will manually review all suggested books one time per year, during the summer. All suggested books will be evaluated based upon the above described selection criteria. Scopus will contact books publisher with the outcome of the books evaluation.

For questions, please contact: booksuggestion@scopus.com

Conference papers selection criteria

Conference material is an important additional component to the scientific literature in many fields, but particularly in the fields of engineering, computer sciences, physical sciences and mathematics. Scopus covers only full-text conference papers, and currently there are close to 8 million conference papers from  nearly 100,000 conference events included in the database. Conference paper selection is done based on the relevancy and quality of the conference in relation to the subject field. Priority is given to conference materials published by reputable organizations and publishers in relevant subject fields. Scopus does not consider individual conference material suggestions to be included in the database. Serial conference titles that have a registered ISSN can be suggested for Scopus coverage via the above mentioned title evaluation process.