A New Comparative Citation Analysis: Google Scholar, Microsoft Academic, Scopus, and Web of Science

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Business journals, Citation analysis, Economics journals, Google Scholar, Microsoft Academic, Scopus, Web of Science

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University Libraries


This study compares search results in Google Scholar (GS), Microsoft Academic (MA), Scopus, and Web of Science (WoS) for a set of fifteen business and economics journals, ten of which had impact factors, and five that did not. These results were analyzed to evaluate the relative performance of each database in identifying citations for articles, and to determine whether one source might be preferable to another in different circumstances. Results showed that Google Scholar and Microsoft Academic have nearly the same number of average citations, with GS only slightly higher, and each has twice as many as either Web of Science or Scopus. Even so, higher numbers did not automatically lead to an unequivocal recommendation to use the related databases without considering other aspects of each database, such as how citations are reported in each of these sources and the transparency that is provided in the fee-based databases.

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