Web of Science has an annual subscription cost equal to the 2012 median price of a single-family home in the United States. Web of Science isn’t an aggregator of content, like JSTOR. It’s primarily an index: it aggregates citations, but not the full text of the publications themselves. It does some other important things, too, like providing cited reference searching and article-level metrics
Scopus costs the University of Arizona about 40% of the cost of Web of Science. While Web of Science has been used more on our campus than Scopus (120,907 searches to 49,150 in 2019), its cost per search is still slightly higher ($1.74 to $1.63). Had all searches in 2019 been done with just one of the tools, the cost per use would have been $1.24 and $0.47 respectively. Both tools, however, are used for much more than just searching, so cost per use based only on searching does not provide a complete picture of their value.
We have leveraged multiyear subscriptions and consortial licensing to bring down the costs of both tools, partnering with ASU on Web of Science However, ASU has also decided to end its subscription to Web of Science.
For Scopus, we partner with both ASU and NAU. Because we also bundle Scopus with other Elsevier content in this consortial arrangement, we have been able to keep the price and annual inflationary increases very low.
This table compares functions and other elements of either resource
Web of Science
1970 - Present
1945 - Present; If Century of Science backfile purchased, coverage back to 1900
Yes - Includes a broader range of fields than Web of Science
Forward & Backward Citation Searching
Citation Results Analyzer
Citation & Article Alerts
Citations, usage, captures, mentions, and social media
20,000 records with basic citation information; 2,000 records will full metadata
10,000 records with full metadata - only to Endnote Web; 500 records for all other exports
Compatible with UAVitae
Yes - Use "Generic" import format (RIS / BibTeX)
Yes - Use "Web of Science" import format
Yes - Searches algorithmic profile clusters
Yes - Searches documents based on name, affiliation, and discipline.
Yes - Algorithmic + User refinement
Yes - User created
Yes - Included in Scopus
No - Separate subscription to Journal Citation Reports [JCR] required
Scopus overlaps 93% of the active titles indexed in Web of Science
Web of Science overlaps 49% of the active titles indexed in the Scopus
Both are strong internationally, with Scopus including a slightly higher number of citations from articles published outside the U.S.
While both primarily index scholarly journals and some books, Scopus also indexes a small number of trade journals and reports (making up about 5% of their total active titles)
Neither Web of Science nor Scopus approach the breadth of Google Scholar which overlaps Web of Science by 95% and Scopus by 92% and indexes significantly more non-journal content. Spearman correlations between citation counts in Google Scholar and Web of Science or Scopus are high (0.78-0.99) and suggest that in all areas Google Scholar citation data is essentially a superset of Web of Science and Scopus, with substantial extra coverage (Martín-Martín et al, 2018)
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