What is Scopus Database and What More You Need to Know

Table of Contents

Introduction to Scopus Database

What is Scopus database and why is it important?

Scopus is one of the largest abstract and citation databases of peer-reviewed literature. With over 90 million records in its archive, the database provides researchers access to the global research landscape across various disciplines, including science, technology, medicine, social sciences, and arts and humanities.

This introductory write-up aims to demystify Scopus (a similar write-up is also available on the Web of Science, another prominent database) and highlight why it has become an important tool for researchers.

We will start with an overview of Scopus and its key features. Then we will walk through navigating the Scopus platform, conducting advanced searches, and interpreting citation metrics and other analytics.

What is Scopus database

By the end of this post, you will have a solid understanding of how to harness the power of Scopus to enhance your research workflow. Whether you are new to Scopus or looking to maximize its capabilities, you are sure to pick up valuable tips and techniques.

So let’s dive in.

What is Scopus Database?

Scopus is one of the biggest scholarly databases owned by Elsevier, an information analytics company. The Scopus database indexes over 90 million records and counting, including over 49 million patents, 290,000 books, and 27,000 active scholarly titles.

Scopus compiles data from more than 5,000 academic publishers worldwide spanning various fields, including science, technology, medicine, social sciences, and arts and humanities. Where journal publishing is concerned, Scopus is always considered one of the top journal databases researchers frequently refer to.

Scopus includes content from scientific journals, books, conference proceedings, and trade publications. It provides access to millions of abstracts from 1970, with cited references from 1996. In addition to abstracts, Scopus also indexes full scholarly texts of over 8 million articles. Sources are carefully selected based on objective quality criteria by an independent review board.

One of the key features of Scopus is its depth of coverage in the sciences, including over 7,000 titles from major fields like life sciences, health sciences, physical sciences and engineering. However, it also has extensive coverage in the social sciences, arts and humanities – over 5,000 titles across psychology, economics, sociology and linguistics.

Overall, Scopus aims to offer interdisciplinary coverage, allowing researchers to move across fields easily. It supports effective literature research with smart tools to track, analyze and visualize research. The ability to get a quick overview of any topic and keep up with the latest developments makes Scopus a highly useful research database.

Scopus offers researchers a quick yet comprehensive overview of the global research landscape. Its tools allow you to track citations, analyze trends, discover new connections, and assess the impact of your work or that of your peers. This makes Scopus invaluable for conducting thorough literature reviews, benchmarking performance, and accelerating research in any discipline.

In short, Scopus is the most extensive scholarly database, spanning every major discipline. Its comprehensive coverage and powerful search features explain why it has become an indispensable research tool for scientists, academics and students worldwide.

The History of Scopus Database

Scopus was conceived in the early 2000s by Elsevier, an information analytics company and one of the world’s major providers of scientific, technical, and medical information. The aim was to create a comprehensive, easy-to-use platform to support researchers’ work.

The development of Scopus began in 2004 to establish a versatile research tool that would surpass other existing databases in terms of breadth of content and functionality. Elsevier collaborated with numerous scientists, librarians, and other professionals to ensure that Scopus would meet the needs of the global research community.

Scopus was officially launched in 2004, initially offering access to 33 million abstracts and articles dating back to 1823. It also indexed references from 1996 onwards. Over time, the database grew significantly, expanding its coverage and incorporating more features to enhance its utility for researchers.

One of the significant milestones in Scopus’s history was the inclusion of cited references for pre-1996 content. In 2008, Scopus added this feature, providing users with a more complete picture of the citation landscape. This allowed researchers to conduct long-term, retrospective analyses of trends and impacts in their fields.

In subsequent years, Scopus continued to expand its content coverage and improve its functionalities. It introduced various tools and features to help researchers track, analyze, and visualize their research data. By 2013, it had indexed over 50 million records, making it the largest abstract and citation database.

Over the years, Scopus has been continuously updated and refined to keep pace with the evolving needs of the global research community. It has become a vital tool for researchers, providing comprehensive coverage across various disciplines and supporting effective literature research, performance benchmarking, and trend analysis.

Why Scopus?

Scopus offers researchers several key advantages, making it a valuable tool for academic work.

Some of the notable uses of the Scopus database:

Access to a Vast Literature Collection

Scopus provides access to over 25,000 peer-reviewed journals from global publishers, including millions of conference papers, book series, and trade publications. This allows researchers to search extensive literature spanning scientific, technical, medical, and social science fields.

Search and Organizational Tools

Scopus has powerful search features that allow users to find, analyze, and manage research easily. Researchers can conduct complex searches using Boolean operators, refine results by source type, year, author name, etc., and even save search queries for future use. Scopus also enables users to create personalized profiles and set up citation alerts.

Insightful Metrics and Analytics

The Scopus database provides a range of citation metrics and analytical tools to assess the impact and reach of research publications. This includes citation counts, h-index, impact factors, and more. Authors can use these metrics to benchmark their work against others in their field.

Enhanced Visibility and Collaboration

By making research discoverable on a large international platform like Scopus, authors can gain more visibility and increase opportunities for collaboration. Scopus also integrates with ORCID, allowing researchers to connect their profiles and publications.

Integrations with Manuscript Tools

Scopus offers seamless integration with manuscript submission tools, making it easier for researchers to submit papers to Elsevier journals while ensuring their work is visible on Scopus.

In short, Scopus provides researchers with an effective way to search literature, track metrics, and enhance the impact of their work. The time saved through an organized research workflow and advanced analytics makes Scopus invaluable.

Understanding Scopus Analytics

In addition to the search and discovery of literature, Scopus offers a wealth of analytics and visualization tools to help researchers understand the impact and reach of published work. Here’s an overview of some of the key metrics available on Scopus and how to interpret them:

Citation Tracking

One of the most useful features of Scopus is that it allows you to see how many times other papers have cited a specific article or author. This serves as an indication of the influence and significance of that research. Citations are often an indication of a quality scholarly paper.

On an author’s profile, you can view their h-index, which measures productivity and citation impact. In addition, you can analyze the geographic origins of citations to grasp the global reach of an article or researcher.

Journal Metrics

Scopus calculates comprehensive journal-level metrics like the SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) and Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) to quantify a journal’s visibility and prestige in its field. The CiteScore tracks the average number of citations received by all papers in a journal over three years. Referring to these metrics can help researchers identify respected publication venues in their discipline.

Co-Citation Analysis

An interesting feature in Scopus is the ability to run co-citation analysis – examining which papers and authors tend to get cited together. This can reveal connections between researchers, publications, and subject areas that may not be immediately obvious. The visual mapping of co-citation networks highlights influential publications and seminal authors in a field of research.

Benchmarking Impact

Scopus makes it possible to compare the performance of an article, author, or journal against overall benchmarks for their subject field and publication year. For instance, you can check whether an author has more citations than others from the same country and institution. This context helps researchers understand their work’s broader impact and visibility compared to their peers.

By taking advantage of Scopus’ wealth of metrics, researchers can better grasp the reach, significance, and influence of their publications and academic profile. The key is to interpret these analytics in the proper context and apply insights to guide future research and publishing strategies.


This concludes our in-depth tour through the Scopus database. By now, you should have a solid understanding of what Scopus is, why it’s useful for research, and how to navigate the platform and utilize the analytics tools.

Here’s a quick recap of the key points we covered:

  • Scopus is a massive abstract and citation database containing over 90 million scholarly and scientific records.
  • It covers various subject areas and includes scientific journals, books, and conference proceedings.
  • Scopus allows you to find, analyze, and track research in ways that can enhance your own work’s visibility and impact.
  • The interface provides many options for basic and advanced searching and tools to visualize citations and metrics.
  • Analytics in Scopus give insights into the influence and reach of publications, authors, and journals.

Now that you’re oriented with Scopus, explore it for your research needs. Apply search and analytics techniques to find relevant papers, identify influential researchers in your field, and determine the best journals to publish in.

Scopus can make a real difference in developing impactful research and measuring your contributions accurately. I hope this guide has demystified Scopus and given you confidence in harnessing its capabilities.

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