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 7,000 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:
- Check the current Scopus title lists to be sure it's not already indexed: Journals list
- Read the board's statement: A General Introduction to Scopus and the Work of the Content Selection & Advisory Board
- Review the selection criteria below
- Then use the Scopus Title Suggestion Form
- Learn more about FAQs for the Role of an Editor
- Read the FAQs for the Content selection process(PDF, 1.08 MB)
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:
Convincing editorial policy
Academic contribution to the field
Citedness of journal articles in Scopus
No delays or interruptions in the publication schedule
Full journal content available online
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 ongoing Re-evaluation program which identifies outlier and underperforming journals in four different ways:
- The journal is underperforming as it does not meet any of the three metrics and benchmarks for journals in the same subject area.
- Concerns about the publication standards of the journal or publisher have been raised by formal complaints.
- The journal shows outlier behavior based on its publishing performance in Scopus.
- Continuous curation based on CSAB feedback.
1. Metrics and benchmarks
Once a year, Scopus analyzes the performance of all journals in the database. All journals must meet the below three metrics and benchmarks in the table below. If a journal does not meet all of the three benchmarks for two consecutive years, it will be flagged for re-evaluation by the independent CSAB.
Benchmark and Explanation
The journal has a substantially higher self-citation rate, when compared to peer journals in its subject field.
Total citation rate
The journal received a substantially lower number of citations, when compared to peer journals in its subject field.
The journal has a substantially lower CiteScore, when compared to peer journals in its subject field.
2. Publication concerns
A journal can also be flagged for Re-evaluation based on publication concerns at either the publisher or journal level. Concerns for such journals are identified by Scopus or flagged to Scopus by the research community. 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.
In 2017 the Radar tool was launched, which is a data analytics algorithm created by Elsevier Data Scientists 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 incorporating new examples or rules. It runs quarterly checking the all Scopus journals for outlier behavior.
4. Continuous curation
Since the establishment of the CSAB in 2010, Scopus has continuously collected review data as part of the content curation process. For example, the CSAB can indicate whether any accepted title should be evaluated again in the future. This is an ongoing process and ensures continuous curation of Scopus content.
All titles identified for underperformance, publication standard concerns, outlier behavior, or during continuous content curation will be re-evaluated by the 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's 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 from Scopus (XLSX, 11.1 KB).
For questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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:
- Guidelines for what a Publication Ethics and Malpractice Statement should adhere to (PEMS)
Scope and selection criteria for books
Scopus covers scholarly books that represent fully-referenced, original research or literature reviews.
- Subject areas: Focus on Social sciences and Arts & Humanities (A&H), but also Science, Technology & Medicine (STM)
- Book types: Monographs, edited volumes, major reference works, graduate level text books
- 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:
- All books must contain ISBNs.
- All books must be available in digital format (PDF or xml).
- All metadata must be captured in ONIX or MARC.
- All metadata must contain BIC or BISAC subject area codes.
- All book content must be in the English language.
- 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:
- Reputation and impact of the publisher
- Size and subject area of the books list (subject area(s) Arts & Humanities and/or Social Sciences are preferred).
- Availability and format of the book content
- Publication policy and editorial mission
- 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: Scopus book suggestion
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.
Scope and coverage policy for preprints
A preprint is a version of a scholarly paper that precedes publication in a peer-reviewed journal and acts as an early indication of research. Preprints reside on preprint servers, which usually cover a set of domains and allow for dissemination, laying claim to an idea, and help collect feedback prior to submission. Some preprints may get submitted and accepted for publication while other preprints may never get submitted or accepted for publication and will remain the final version of the research record. Preprints differ from Articles-in-Press in that preprints are not peer-reviewed and not accepted for publication in a journal.
Preprints are more prevalent in certain subject fields compared to others. The preprint servers selected for Scopus are the main preprint servers in the areas of Physical Sciences (arXiv and ChemRxiv) Biomedical Sciences (bioRxiv and medRxiv) and Social Sciences (SSRN, to come during the first half of 2021). Because preprints are meant to act as an early indication of research, Scopus covers preprints from 2017 onwards for all selected preprint servers, and does not include archives from earlier years.
There is no additional selection of individual preprints outside of the posting policies of the preprint servers. Documents posted on the servers that are not preprints (e.g. accepted manuscripts or published articles) will be excluded from Scopus coverage.
Scopus will consider covering additional preprint servers as they arise and become major preprint servers in relevant subject areas.