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Course & Subject Guides

Citation Searching and Bibliometric Measures: Scopus

A discussion on topics such as the h-index, Eigenfactor, Impact Factor, Journal Citation Reports, and other tools.

Introduction to Scopus

Scopus is a comprehensive database for scientific, technical, and medical information, covering more than 19,000 publications from over 5,000 publishers, and with records going back to the 1960s. It provides searching capability, linking to full-text sources, cited references, saved search, and alerting features.

A variety of citation data and analytical reports are available through Scopus, but remember:

  • Citation counts are not complete. Only citations from documents covered by Scopus from 1996 to present are included.
  • Coverage is more complete for some subjects (sciences, engineering, medicine) than for others (mostly social sciences and humanities).
  • Secondary sources are not covered as part of the Scopus database. They are references cited by the articles that are covered by Scopus and are not included in most counts or analyses.

The boxes on this page show you how to use Scopus to:

Find Citations for Specific Publications

Do a search:

  • Access Scopus below and connect to the database.
  • Enter terms for a Document Search, Author Search, Affiliation Search, or Advanced Search.
  • Refine or limit the results to locate your document or a group of documents.

For a single document:

  • Citation countCited by.
  • View the citing list-- the documents that cite this one -- by clicking on the citation count.
  • View the list of references -- the articles cited by this one -- by clicking in the box in front of the title and then on View references in the gray menu above the results list.

For a group of documents:

  • Check the boxes in front of the titles of all documents you want to include.
  • Click on View Cited by in the gray menu above the results to get a combined list of documents that cite any of the checked documents.
  • Click on View references in the gray menu above the checked results to get a combined list of documents cited by any of the checked documents.
  • The total count of documents in either the combined Cited by or combined References list displays in the light green bar and also as the Document results number above the list.

Find Citations for a Specific Author

Do an author search:

  • Access Scopus below and connect to the database.
  • From the Author search tab, enter the author’s last name and first initial. (See the Author Search Tips box for more ideas on how to search for an author.)
  • The search will pick up the name in any location in the author list.

Select the author's name:

  • Search results will display each author name along with variations that Scopus has identified as being the same person.
  • Only names associated with more than one document will display automatically. Click on Show Profile Matches with One Document for a complete list.
  • Check the box in front of all names you want to include in your results set, or check the All or Page boxes.

View citation information:

  • View citation overview -- Click this link in the gray menu to see a chart summarizing citation data for each article by year, along with total citations, h-index and h-graph. Click on the appropriate number in the Total column to view a list of documents citing all of the author’s work in Scopus or citing a single document.
  • Author details screen -- Click on an author’s name in any document record to see this screen, which includes total documents, references, and citing documents with links to the lists, h-index, h-graph, links to a web search and the Author Evaluator, plus more; CAUTION: The counts on this screen are combined from the name variations that have been matched as one person by Scopus. Additional data may exist under other name entries that cannot be confirmed by Scopus.

Find Citation for a Specific Organization

You can find and analyze the published work of a particular organization, institution, or unit of an institution. Scopus matches various forms of the authors’ institutional affiliations and groups together all that it identifies as representing the same organization or unit.  For example, it would assign “Dept. of Psychology” and “Psychology Department” at the “University of Pittsburgh” and “Univ. of Pittsburgh” to the same group with the same Affiliation ID number.

CAUTION: Scopus can only match affiliations based on the information each document includes. Missing or incorrect information may mean the document cannot be assigned to a group and will be left out of analyses unless manually included.


Access Scopus below and connect to the database.

  • Do an Affiliation search
  • Enter the name of the organization  (e.g. University of Pittsburgh) in the box.
  • Both the standard name and variant names for the organization are searched.
  • Use truncation as appropriate:  univ*   finds both univ and university.
  • Results can be refined by city or country.

For a single organization:

  • View the documents from this organization by clicking on the number in the Documents column of the Affiliation results list.
  • Click on the name of the organization to view the Affiliation details screen. This screen includes the Scopus standard name and variant names for the organization; ID number; number of documents, authors, web search results and patent results with links; collaborating affiliations, and more. View a pie chart or a table with the distribution of documents by subject area.

For multiple organizations:

  • Check the box in front of the name of all organizations you want to include in your results.
  • Click on Show documents in the gray menu to view a combined list of documents from all the organizations. Documents can be refined by subject, date, etc.

To evaluate the results list of the organization's published work select All, a Page, or individual documents and then:

  • Click View Cited by to see a list of citing articles and a citation count. CAUTION: Citing documents can only be retrieved for the first 2000 documents in a set.
  • Click View citation overview for a chart showing the number of times each document was cited by year, h-index, and h-graph. Self-citations of all authors can be removed from the calculations. CAUTION: The Citation Tracker can hold no more than 20,000 documents. Large sets may have to be processed off-line and accessed on a web site later.
  • Click on Analyze results in the green bar to display options for analyzing the results by source title, author name, affiliation name, country, document type, and subject area.

Determine the Most Highly Cited Publications for an Author or Organization

To identify which publications of an author or organization have been cited most frequently:

  • Do either an Author or Affiliation search,
  • Select all author or organization names you want to include.
  • Click on Show Documents.
  • Change the Sort by pull down menu at the right above the results list from the default to Cited by.
  • The list will display in order of citation count from high to low.

Remember: These counts are based on just the documents covered by Scopus.

Eliminate Self-Citations from a Citation Count

In some contexts it is possible to remove an author’s citations of his/her own work from the citation counts and analyses.

  • From the Citation overview of a group of documents, check the box to exclude Self citations of all authors.
  • From the Citation overview of the results of an author search, check a box to exclude either Self citations of selected author or Self citations of all authors.
  • From the h-index display on the Author Evaluator screen, check the box to Exclude self-citations. Click on the author’s name in any document record to go to the Author details page and find the link to the Author Evaluator.

Analyze Results

In addition to getting citation information, you can analyze your Scopus search results in a variety of ways. While these reports can give you useful information about your results, be sure to look at the numbers closely and understand how they were generated before making serious comparisons with them.

While viewing any results set, click on Analyze results in the tool bar directly above the results list.

Analyze by:

  • Year -- graphs the number of documents for each year. This is the default display.
  • Source title – graphs the distribution of documents over time from the five most common journals.  You can select any 10 titles from the journal list to display.
  • Author name – displays a bar chart of the number of documents by the top 10 authors. You can choose any 15 authors to chart.
  • Affiliation name – displays a bar chart of the number of documents from the top 10 institutions affiliated with authors. You can choose any 15 institutions to chart.
  • Country – displays a bar chart of the number of documents from the top 10 countries. You can choose any 15 countries to chart.
  • Document type – displays the percentage of each document type (article, review, conference paper, editorial, etc.) in a pie chart.
  • Subject area – displays the percentage of articles assigned to various subject headings in a pie chart. Note: Subjects are generally assigned to journals as a whole, not to individual articles. For example, all articles in Nature are assigned only to the Multidisciplinary subject area. An article on dwarf galaxies in Nature will not be counted in the Physics & Astronomy subject area. Articles will be counted under all subject areas assigned to the journal, so may be counted more than once.

After analyzing your results set:

  • Sort the document set by the individual groups of documents or by the number of documents in each group, in either ascending or descending order.
  • Note that total number of Document results will vary from the Total documents summed from the lists in some analysis categories because of the way in which these are generated. Other numbers may not match totals from the actual results lists.
  • Selecting one subject area group to view will also retrieve the multidisciplinary documents. For example, selecting Mathematics will display the Mathematics plus the Multidisciplinary documents.

Scopus – Useful Links

Setting Citation Alerts

You can create citation alerts in Scopus that will notify you by email when a particular author or document has been cited by a new publication. Only documents covered by Scopus are included in these alerts.

You will need to register for a free Scopus username and password and be logged into your account before you can create an alert.

  • Do an author search or a document search to locate the record for the author or document you want to track.
  • Click on the author name or the document title to go to the Author details or Document details screen.
  • Click on Set Alert by the icon of a bell, and log into your account, if not already logged in.
  • Give a name to your alert, and enter the email address where it should be sent.
  • Choose the Frequency for receiving alerts, and whether you want Text or HTML.
  • Create your alert.

Author Details

Author Details

This screen is accessible by clicking on an author's name in any record for a document. Information displayed includes:

  • Standard form of the name
  • Other formats of the name that Scopus has identified as being the same person. Note: There may be more author records associated with this person that Scopus cannot confirm, so has not included in the group.
  • Author ID number
  • Author's affiliation
  • Total number of documents by this author
  • Total number of references or documents cited by this author's work
  • Total number of documents citing this author’s work and total number of citations from these documents
  • Links to the lists of these citing/cited documents
  • h-index and link to view the h-graph
  • Links to articles by this author, grouped by journal title
  • ink to a list of co-authors and a Co-Author Visualizer that shows the author – co-author network
  • Link to the citation overview for the 'cited by' documents
  • Link to the Author Evaluator
  • Link to web search results for this author

Author Evaluator

Access the Author Evaluator on the Author details screen. Click an author’s name in any document record to go to the appropriate Author details screen.

The Author Evaluator graphically displays an analysis of the author's published work in three ways:

  • Documents – analyzes the author's published documents by source, or journal title, and displays both numbers and a pie chart of the distribution.
  • h-index – displays the value of the h-index and graphs the number of documents against the number of citations. You can exclude self-citations from the calculation and graph.
  • Citations – lists and graphs the total number of citations to the author's work each year.

Remember: The Author Evaluator only calculates results from documents covered by Scopus and identified as coming from the same person.

Author Search Tips

  • It's usually best to enter the minimum information required so you are more likely to find the relevant variant spellings and misspellings of a name.
  • If a name is commonly spelled in different ways (Clark and Clarke), easily misspelled (Johnson for Johnston), or contains punctuation (O'Neill), try searching the alternate spellings to catch all the variants.
  • Use truncation to search for variant spellings: jans*n retrieves janson, jansen, janssen, jansson, etc.
  • Entering an initial only will find all names that start with that initial as well as the initial itself.
  • Check Show exact matches only to limit your search results to exact matches to the last name and matches to either the first name or first initial as entered. CAUTION: Searching exact matches only may overlook some relevant misspellings
  • Enter an author’s institutional affiliation  (University of Pittsburgh) to focus results for an author with a common name. CAUTION: Many authors are affiliated with more than one institution during their education and career. Searching only one affiliation may overlook relevant results.