Coverage of Source Types
2.1 Serial Source Types
Scopus only indexes serial publications (journals, trade journals, book series and conference material) that have a ISSN (International Standard Serial Numbers) assigned to them. The only exception concerns conference papers, which can be captured via different routes than by being published in a serial publication with an ISSN (see below section “Conference Material”).
Journals constitute the bulk of the content in Scopus and are selected according to our content coverage policy (for more information, see section 4.2.1).
- Any serial publication with an ISSN, with the exception of Trade Journals, Book Series, Proceedings (serial), Newsletters, Secondary Sources or Patent publications.
- Usually a scholarly / academic serial publication in any STM field. A journal can have various physical formats (e.g. print, electronic).
- A serial publication covering and intended to reach a specific industry, trade or type of business.
- Usually a glossy magazine type of periodical with articles on topical subjects, many news items and advertisements that will appeal to those in the field. Trade Journals are seldom refereed and do not always have an editorial board. Abstracts are usually short or non-existent, and few or no references are given. Usually an ISSN is available.
Trade journals are included in Scopus because users and librarians consider selected articles to be scientifically relevant. A special document type policy for trade journals was introduced in 2008 which ensures that only articles or reviews of scientific relevance are included in Scopus. The minimum requirements for items in trade journals to be captured are: (1) minimum of 1 page, (2) minimum of one mentioned author. (For more information about the regular document type policy, see section 3.1)
- A serial publication with a series title, an ISSN, and for which every volume and/or issue in the series is also a book and has an ISBN.
- Usually, but not always, each book has a book title separate from the series title and (a) different editor(s). Each book is most often a monographic publication. The series is usually published irregularly.
The Book series in Scopus include ScienceDirect Handbooks whose records are visible as articles or reviews. See an example of a ScienceDirect Handbook result in Scopus.
Conference material enters Scopus in two different ways: as special issues of regular journals; in the form of dedicated conference proceedings.
Proceedings can be published as a serial or non-serial, and may contain either the full articles of the papers presented or only the abstracts. The source title usually includes words like ‘proceeding(s)’, ‘meeting(s)’, ‘conference(s)’, ‘symposium/ symposia’, ‘seminar(s)’ or ‘workshop(s)’ (or their synonyms in other languages like ‘Tagungsberichte’ etc.), although some Journals also have titles with the word ‘Proceedings’.
Scopus covers conferences that publish full-text papers, e.g. document type “conference papers” (see section 3.1), whereas conferences that publish only abstracts (“meeting abstracts”) are not considered for coverage.
Nearly 10% of the Scopus database is comprised of conference papers (3.6 million) of which 1 million are published in journals and the remaining 2.6 million in conference proceedings. It is not possible to know the number of actual meetings covered in Scopus, only the number of conference papers.
Conference coverage in Scopus is focused primarily on those subject areas where conference papers represent a substantial portion of published research, e.g. engineering, computer science, and some areas of physics.
The figures in the right-hand column of the table below (Conf. Papers) highlight the significance of conference papers for some disciplines like Computing and Information Sciences (62.3%) and Engineering (45.1%). This analysis serves to underpin Scopus’ highly targeted approach to conference coverage.
Australian research output by field and publication category (Australian National University, Linda Butler, 2007)
Intricacies of capturing conference papers
Due to the nature of conference papers and the different means by which they can be published, it is difficult to ensure that all relevant conference material has been included in Scopus. Several factors account for this:
- Whereas a journal is a “continuous institution” for publishing selected content in a defined area of science on a regular basis; conference material is related primarily to a particular one-off event.
- Where the event is re-occurring, e.g. the “Annual Meeting of the Society XYZ”, the content is often published in single volumes that do not have an ISSN or a stable name from year to year, i.e. volumes may be published annually with different titles (“11th Annual Meeting…”, “12th Annual Meeting…” etc.) and without an ISSN it is impossible to identify the content of these source titles as belonging to one serial publication.
- The content from important meetings is often published as a special volume of a regular journal. For example, “Society XYZ” hosts their annual meeting and they include the papers which were presented at the conference as part of their society journal which might then be published with a commercial publisher, e.g. Elsevier.
- Finally, there are many singular meetings that Scopus covers as part of our agreement with 70 major societies in engineering and computer science, but since they are not “serial content” they do not show up in our title list, even though they belong to the conference coverage category.
- It is important to realize that the Scopus title list, which lists only serial publications, does not really reflect the richness of conference coverage in Scopus.
List of “Further Conference Proceedings”
In the Scopus title list (see section 4.1) there is a tab called “Further Conference Proceedings” that includes over 6,000 Conference Proceedings, whose meeting name was captured as part of the record data but are not included in the regular title list because they do not have ISSNs.
Conference content where even the name of the meeting is not captured will still be included in Scopus but will not appear in either the regular title list or the list of “further conference proceedings”. It is for this reason that we choose to communicate the number of “conference papers” included in Scopus (which is not limited to either list) in order to provide a more accurate reflection of the richness of conference material available in Scopus.
Meeting abstracts not covered in Scopus
Confusion around the conference coverage in databases can arise from not making a distinction between the document types “conference papers” and “meeting abstracts”. Whereas “conference papers” contain the final full-text version of a research paper (i.e. comparable to journal articles), “meeting abstracts” are short summaries of an ongoing research project, as it was presented at a conference. Often “meeting abstracts” are published in advance of a conference, while “conference papers” are made available after the conference as part of a proceedings volume.
Scopus endeavors to only cover primary research literature (see section 3.1) and therefore “meeting abstracts” are not indexed in Scopus for three reasons:
(1) Submission is due months before a conference and often before the actual research is finished. Once the research is published in a peer-reviewed journal, the relevant information and results are contained within the full-text article and not the abstract.
(2) In some fields, the same abstract is submitted to several conferences which could lead to duplicates of the same abstract within an A&I database.
(3) Researchers would usually not include meeting abstracts in their publication list and these would have to then be manually removed from their list of publications in Scopus.
How to find conference papers in Scopus:
1. Go to Advanced search and type in DOCTYPE(CP) where ‘CP’ stands for conference paper.
2. To see whether the conference paper was originally published in a journal, book series or as part of a conference proceeding, you can add the “source type” category to your refined results overview and view a breakdown of your results.
2.2 Non-serial sources
A non-serial source is a publication with an ISBN unless it is a Report, part of a Book Series, Proceeding (non-serial), or Patent.
Usually it is a monograph or composed work. A book can have different physical formats (e.g. print, electronic).
There are hundreds of thousands of scientific books that have been published (both in print and out of print) but these come with many challenges when attempting to include them in an A&I database such as Scopus. Currently it is Scopus’ policy not to include books.
Two main challenges around books are:
1. Selection of books:
- In subject areas where books matter most (Social Sciences and Humanities), books are published in many local languages and an English version is not always available.
- Different subject matters are more regional/local than others (e.g. social sciences). According to industry estimates there are over 100,000 academic books published per annum. Whereas for chemistry it may be sufficient to cover all chemistry books published by Wiley, ACS and Elsevier; for Social Sciences and the Humanities it is often necessary to seek out a variety of publishers for individual subject areas and across countries/languages to offer the same quality of coverage and this can prove to be a lengthy, costly and inconclusive endeavour.
2. Reference matching:
- Cited references are difficult to match with books. Whereas journal literature is usually cited in a standardized way, the citations to book content may follow any number of styles. In some cases only the editor is named, or only the author; in other cases a particular volume is cited vs. the entire book or a particular edition etc. Given these challenges, Scopus is unable to match citations with enough accuracy to satisfy authors and researchers who are increasingly using Scopus not only for literature research but also for performance evaluation purposes (e.g. grant applications, tenure/promotion decisions etc.).
2.3 Other sources
There are 55 million non-core records in Scopus which are cited by Scopus core records, but not indexed in Scopus. The most highly cited items in this category are often books and older journal articles.
Elsevier’s scientific web search engine, Scirus, is fully integrated with Scopus and all 318 million web results provided via Scirus are de-duplicated. While fully integrated, the content available to search at www.scirus.com is different than the content provided via the customized feed for Scopus.
In Scopus, Scirus searches for relevant search results on the web, excluding journal content which is already covered by Scopus. Examples of web sources which are searched via Scirus include: author homepages, university sites and resources such as the preprint servers (e.g. CogPrints, ArXiv.org).
Web results are available via both the ‘Web’ or ‘Selected Sources’ results tabs.
Patent results are provided via Scirus. There are 23 million patent records in Scopus, derived from five patent offices:
- World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
- European Patent Office
- US Patent Office
- Japanese Patent Office
- UK Intellectual Property Office
Selected Sources tab
Selected Sources is a fully customizable feature that enables users to search within selected repositories or subject specific digital archives within the Scopus interface, as decided by the customer. Customers may choose from a list of institutional resources and special subject collections indexed by Scirus. These are then made individually searchable and results are presented via a separate tab.
Librarians can also request that their own institute’s repository and digital archive be indexed and made searchable through the Scopus interface. This feature enhances traditional literature searching by providing easy access to non-published intellectual output such as theses, lecture notes, presentations, manuscripts and pre-press papers. Additionally, it provides exposure to the research carried out at institutes that offer their repositories online and it bridges the gap between traditional and new search environments.
Scirus indexes both the metadata and full text of the documents in the repositories which maximizes disclosure of the documents in a way that search technologies which are not designed for scientific documentation simply cannot do. An overview of all selected sources indexed by Scirus is available on the Selected Sources list.