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Web of Science

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Web of Science
Web of Science Logo.png
ProducerClarivate Analytics (United States)
DisciplinesScience, social science, arts, humanities (supports 256 disciplines)
Record depthCitation indexing, author, topic title, subject keywords, abstract, periodical title, author's address, publication year
Format coverageFull text articles, reviews, editorials, chronologies, abstracts, proceedings (journals and book-based ), technical papers
Temporal coverage1900 to present
No. of records90 million +

Web of Science (previously known as Web of Knowledge) is a website which provides subscription-based access to multiple databases that provide comprehensive citation data for many different academic disciplines. It was originally produced by the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) and is currently maintained by Clarivate Analytics (previously the Intellectual Property and Science business of Thomson Reuters[1])

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  • ✪ Web of Science: Advanced Search
  • ✪ Web of Science - Search Tips
  • ✪ Web of Science - Advanced Search
  • ✪ Web of Science: New Features, November 2018
  • ✪ Finding Review Articles Using Web of Science


Every content set available on the Web of Science platform has at least 2 search modes: Basic Search, which is the default page that displays when you select a database, and Advanced Search. Advanced Search allows you to access fields that are not available from the Basic Search page, and use them to perform searches that are more precise than those possible to perform from the Basic Search page. It also allows you to easily work with your search results in sets, and is the only place on the platform where you can combine results sets with the NOT operator. Lastly, Advanced Search provides you with a way to edit searches that you have previously run, regardless of where you initially performed your search. To enter a search from the Advanced page, you’ll need to use one or more field tags listed on the right-hand side of the screen. Field tags correspond to different search fields available in the content set you have selected to work in. Here in the Core Collection, I’m seeing all the fields that are available in menu format on the Basic Search page, such as the Topic field, alongside additional fields only available here, such as ISSN number. Here in SciELO, the available field tags are different from the options we saw in the Core Collection. This is because each content set available on the Web of Science platform has its own, unique indexing classifications. So the options you see here will be dependent on the content set you have selected to search. In All Databases Advanced Search, only fields shared in common across all of the content sets on the platform can be searched. To start, let’s say I want to do a topic search in the Core Collection for papers on childhood obesity. I’ll type the code for the Topic field, TS, followed by an equals sign. I’ll then enter my search terms connected with the NEAR operator. Note that I’ve placed my search terms within a set of parentheses. Using parentheses is required when you search the topic field for more than 1 term. Once I press the button to execute my search, results are returned in a set at the bottom of the screen. To view the records, I’ll click the link in the Results column. Next, let’s say I want to view all of the papers in the Core Collection that were published in Nutrition journals. To do this, I’ll use the Web of Science Category field, which I see has a link to information about this field. Here, I’m being presented with a plain text list of all possible values for this field. Depending on which content set you have selected to search, and which field you select, the system may present you with a browsable or searchable list of values at this point, or with a plain text list, like this one. To select a Category here, I’ll press Control-F to open my Internet browser’s “Find on this page” function. Typing the first few letters of my term, nutrition, will bring me to the Nutrition & Dietetics category. I’ll highlight the term, press Control-C to copy it, then move back to the Advanced Search page. I’ll now enter the code WC, equals, and paste the category from the Help file using Control-V. Pressing search will then return a list of papers published in journals in the Nutrition category. There may be cases when you want to limit your search to a particular book or journal. If you know the ISSN or ISBN number of a publication, you can search for it by that number in the IS field. In this example, I’ll search for papers published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition Using hyphens is optional in this field, and for books, both 13- and 10-digit ISBNs are searchable. The Advanced Search interface offers many different ways to combine search sets. If you want to combine 2 sets with the AND or OR operator, you can do so by marking the desired sets in the Combine column, and pressing combine. In this example, I want to find articles on childhood obesity published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, and will combine the 2 relevant search sets I previously created with the AND operator. 330 papers match my search criteria. Note the search logic in our new set, which is using the set numbers of our previous searches. Another way to combine sets is to type the set numbers you want to work with directly into the search box. This is the only way you can combine sets using the NOT operator. For this example, I created two new sets: a topic search for articles about measles-mumps-rubella and autism, and an author search for papers by Andrew J Wakefield. I want to see papers about MMR and autism that were NOT written by Wakefield. To do this, I’ll type #5 NOT #6 into the interface. When results are returned, I have narrowed my set down from 315 to 309 papers. Most searches you perform in the Web of Science can be edited. Regardless of where you initially ran a search, pressing the Edit button will always feed you into the Advanced Search interface. Once you’ve made changes to your search statement, you can choose whether to create a new set, or overwrite the old one. Overwriting your old set is the default, and if this edit affects any other results sets you’ve created, the system will note which sets will be affected. When you run your edited search , all affected sets are highlighted in the search history.


Background and history

A citation index is built on the fact that citations in science serve as linkages between similar research items, and lead to matching or related scientific literature, such as journal articles, conference proceedings, abstracts, etc. In addition, literature which shows the greatest impact in a particular field, or more than one discipline, can be easily located through a citation index. For example, a paper's influence can be determined by linking to all the papers that have cited it. In this way, current trends, patterns, and emerging fields of research can be assessed. Eugene Garfield, the "father of citation indexing of academic literature,"[2] who launched the Science Citation Index (SCI), which in turn led to the Web of Science,[3] wrote:

Citations are the formal, explicit linkages between papers that have particular points in common. A citation index is built around these linkages. It lists publications that have been cited and identifies the sources of the citations. Anyone conducting a literature search can find from one to dozens of additional papers on a subject just by knowing one that has been cited. And every paper that is found provides a list of new citations with which to continue the search.

The simplicity of citation indexing is one of its main strengths.[4]

Search and analysis

Web of Science is described as a unifying research tool which enables the user to acquire, analyze, and disseminate database information in a timely manner. This is accomplished because of the creation of a common vocabulary, called ontology, for varied search terms and varied data. Moreover, search terms generate related information across categories.

Acceptable content for Web of Science is determined by an evaluation and selection process based on the following criteria: impact, influence, timeliness, peer review, and geographic representation.[5]

Web of Science employs various search and analysis capabilities. First, citation indexing is employed, which is enhanced by the capability to search for results across disciplines. The influence, impact, history, and methodology of an idea can be followed from its first instance, notice, or referral to the present day. This technology points to a deficiency with the keyword-only method of searching.

Second, subtle trends and patterns relevant to the literature or research of interest, become apparent. Broad trends indicate significant topics of the day, as well as the history relevant to both the work at hand, and particular areas of study.

Third, trends can be graphically represented.[5][6]


Entering a search query on Web of Science.
Entering a search query on Web of Science.

Expanding the coverage of Web of Science, in November 2009 Thomson Reuters introduced Century of Social Sciences. This service contains files which trace social science research back to the beginning of the 20th century,[7][8] and Web of Science now has indexing coverage from the year 1900 to the present.[9][10] As of 24 February 2017, the multidisciplinary coverage of the Web of Science encompasses 12,000 high impact journals and 160,000 conference proceedings.[11] The selection is made on the basis of impact evaluations and comprise open-access journals, spanning multiple academic disciplines. The coverage includes: the sciences, social sciences, arts, and humanities, and goes across disciplines.[9][12] However, Web of Science does not index all journals.

There is a significant and positive correlation between Impact Factor and CiteScore. However, analysis by Elsevier[13] has identified 216 journals from 70 publishers to be in the top 10 percent of the most-cited journals in their subject category based on the CiteScore while they did not have Impact Factor. It appears that Impact Factor does not provide a comprehensive and an unbiased coverage of high quality journals. Similar results can be observed by comparing Impact Factor with SCImago Journal Rank.

Furthermore, as of September 3, 2014 the total file count of the Web of Science was 90 million records, which included over a billion cited references. This citation service on average indexes around 65 million items per year, and it is described as the largest accessible citation database.[12]

Titles of foreign-language publications are translated into English and so cannot be found by searches in the original language.[14]

Citation databases

Web of Science databases.
Web of Science databases.

The Web of Science Core Collection consists of six online databases:[15][16]

Regional databases

Since 2008, the Web of Science hosts a number of regional citation indices. The Chinese Science Citation Database, produced in partnership with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, was the first one in a language other than English.[17] It was followed in 2013 by the SciELO Citation Index, covering Brazil, Spain, Portugal, the Caribbean and South Africa, and more 12 countries of Latin America;[18] by the Korea Citation Index (KCI) in 2014, with updates from the South Korean National Research Foundation;[19] and by the Russian Science Citation index in 2015.[20]


The seven citation indices listed above contain references which have been cited by other articles. One may use them to undertake cited reference search, that is, locating articles that cite an earlier, or current publication. One may search citation databases by topic, by author, by source title, and by location. Two chemistry databases, Index Chemicus and Current Chemical Reactions allow for the creation of structure drawings, thus enabling users to locate chemical compounds and reactions.

Abstracting and indexing

The following types of literature are indexed: scholarly books, peer reviewed journals, original research articles, reviews, editorials, chronologies, abstracts, as well as other items. Disciplines included in this index are agriculture, biological sciences, engineering, medical and life sciences, physical and chemical sciences, anthropology, law, library sciences, architecture, dance, music, film, and theater. Seven citation databases encompasses coverage of the above disciplines.[10][11][21]

Limitations in the use of citation analysis

As with other scientific approaches, scientometrics and bibliometrics have their own limitations. In 2010, a criticism was voiced pointing toward certain deficiencies of the journal impact factor (JIF) calculation process, based on Thomson Reuters Web of Science, such as: journal citation distributions usually are highly skewed towards established journals; journal impact factor properties are field-specific and can be easily manipulated by editors, or even by changing the editorial policies; this makes the entire process essentially non-transparent.[22]

Regarding the more objective journal metrics, there is a growing view that for greater accuracy it must be supplemented with article-level metrics and peer-review.[22] Thomson Reuters replied to criticism in general terms by stating that "no one metric can fully capture the complex contributions scholars make to their disciplines, and many forms of scholarly achievement should be considered."[23]

See also


  1. ^ Analytics, Clarivate. "Acquisition of the Thomson Reuters Intellectual Property and Science Business by Onex and Baring Asia Completed". Retrieved 13 December 2017.
  2. ^ Jacso, Peter. The impact of Eugene Garfield through the prizm of Web of Science. Annals of Library and Information Studies, Vol. 57, September 2010, P. 222. PDF
  3. ^ Garfield, Eugene, Blaise Cronin, and Helen Barsky Atkins. The Web of Knowledge: A Festschrift in Honor of Eugene Garfield. Medford, N.J.: Information Today, 2000.
  4. ^ Garfield, Garfield, Eugene. Citation indexing: Its theory and application in science, technology, and humanities. New York: Wiley, 1979, P. 1. PDF
  5. ^ a b Overview and Description. ISI Web of Knowledge. Thomson Reuters. 2010. Accessed on 2010-06-24
  6. ^ "Web of Knowledge > Real Facts > Quality and Quantity". Retrieved 2010-05-05.
  7. ^ "Thomson Reuters introduces century of social sciences". Information Today 26.10 (2009): 10. General OneFile. Web. 23 June 2010. Document URL.
  8. ^ Thomson Reuters introduces century of social sciences." Computers in Libraries 29.10 (2009): 47. General OneFile. Internet. 23 June 2010. Document URL
  9. ^ a b "Overview - Web of Science" (Overview of coverage gleaned from promotional language.). Thomson Reuters. 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-23.
  10. ^ a b Lee, Sul H. (2010). "Citation Indexing and ISI's Web of Science" (Discussion of finding literature manually. Description of citation indexing, and Web of Science.). The University of Oklahoma Libraries. Retrieved 2010-06-23.
  11. ^ a b Reuters, Thomson. "Web of Knowledge - Real Facts - IP & Science - Thomson Reuters". Retrieved 24 February 2017.
  12. ^ a b Bulleted fact sheet. Thomson Reuters. 2014.
  13. ^ [1] Survey by Elsevier
  14. ^ "Some Searching Conventions". President and Fellows of Harvard College. December 3, 2009. Retrieved 2010-06-23.
  15. ^ "Web of Science Databases". Clarivate Analytics. Retrieved August 24, 2018.
  16. ^ "Web of Science fact book" (PDF). Clarivate Analytics. Retrieved August 24, 2018.
  17. ^ "Chinese Science Citation Database".
  18. ^ "Thomson Reuters Collaborates with SciELO to Showcase Emerging Research Centers within Web of Knowledge".
  19. ^ "Thomson Reuters Collaborates with National Research Foundation of Korea to Showcase the Region's Research in Web of Science".
  20. ^ Reuters, Thomson. "RSCI - IP & Science - Thomson Reuters". Retrieved 10 December 2016.
  21. ^ "Coverage - Web of Science" (Overview of coverage gleaned from promotional language.). Thomson Reuters. 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-23.
  22. ^ a b San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment: Putting science into the assessment of research, December 16, 2012
  23. ^ Thomson Reuters Statement Regarding the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment [2]

External links

This page was last edited on 6 January 2020, at 11:03
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