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Beyond Google Scholar, Scopus, and Web of Science: An evaluation of the backward and forward citation coverage of 59 databases’ citation indices

Beyond Google Scholar, Scopus, and Web of Science: An evaluation of the backward and forward citation coverage of 59 databases’ citation indices

Abstract

Citation indices providing information on backward citation (BWC) and forward citation (FWC) links are essential for literature discovery, bibliographic analysis, and knowledge synthesis, especially when language barriers impede document identification. However, the suitability of citation indices varies. While some have been analyzed, the majority, whether new or established, lack comprehensive evaluation. Therefore, this study evaluates the citation coverage of the citation indices of 59 databases, encompassing the widely used Google Scholar, Scopus, and Web of Science alongside many others never previously analyzed, such as the emerging Lens, Scite, Dimensions, and OpenAlex or the subject-specific PubMed and JSTOR. Through a comprehensive analysis using 259 journal articles from across disciplines, this research aims to guide scholars in selecting indices with broader document coverage and more accurate and comprehensive backward and forward citation links. Key findings highlight Google Scholar, ResearchGate, Semantic Scholar, and Lens as leading options for FWC searching, with Lens providing superior download capabilities. For BWC searching, the Web of Science Core Collection can be recommended over Scopus for accuracy. BWC information from publisher databases such as IEEE Xplore or ScienceDirect was generally found to be the most accurate, yet only available for a limited number of articles. The findings will help scholars conducting systematic reviews, meta-analyses, and bibliometric analyses to select the most suitable databases for citation searching.

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Posted on: July 6, 2024, 6:53 am Category: Uncategorized

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