Do Google Scholar, Scopus and the Web of Science speak your language?

The fact that Google Scholar provides a more comprehensive coverage of publications and citations in the Social Sciences than Scopus or the Web of Science is well-known. My earlier white papers Sacrifice a little accuracy for a lot more comprehensive coverage and From h-index to hIa: The ins and outs of research metrics provide a good overview of this. My latest white paper Do Google Scholar, Scopus and the Web of Science speak your language? looks specifically at the extent to which the different data-bases cover scholarship in languages other than English.

The conclusion is clear: Whereas Google Scholar is decidedly multi-lingual, “speaking” French, German, and Portuguese (as well as many other languages), both the Web of Science and Scopus are staunchly mono-lingual English. As a result - as Figure 1 shows - non-Anglophone research are almost completely invisible in the latter two databases.

Figure 1: Comparing the average h-index of Anglophone and non-Anglophone scholars across three data-bases

Other articles on the same themes

  • Harzing, A.W.; Alakangas, S.; Adams, D. (2014) hIa: An individual annual h-index to accommodate disciplinary and career length differences, Scientometrics, vol. 99, no. 3, pp. 811-821. Available online...
  • Harzing, A.W.; Mijnhardt, W. (2015) Proof over promise: Towards a more inclusive ranking of Dutch academics in Economics & Business, Scientometrics, vol. 102, no. 1, pp. 727-749. Available online...
  • Harzing, A.W. (2015) Health warning: Might contain multiple personalities. The problem of homonyms in Thomson Reuters Essential Science Indicators, Scientometrics, vol. 105, no. 3, pp. 2259-2270. Available online... [Press coverage in The Times and the Times Higher Education].
  • Harzing, A.W.; Alakangas, S. (2016) Google Scholar, Scopus and the Web of Science: A longitudinal and cross-disciplinary comparison, Scientometrics, vol. 106, no. 2, pp. 787-804. Available online... - Publisher's version - Presentation slides - Video presentation of this article.

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