Following my own group-test, it’s interesting to see that Peter at Gale Reference Review has just published a detailed May 2009 review of three major academic search-engines. He takes a skeptical look at Web of Science (WoS), Scopus and Google Scholar. The article is rather long, but here are some interesting quotes…

“Google Scholar […] reports implausibly high citedness counts for most items, which becomes quite obvious when tracing the purportedly citing papers”

“I looked at the widely touted figures in the promotional materials [ of WoS and Scopus and found ] they should not be taken for granted. Many of these are incorrect and exaggerated. Their compilation has been fast and loose, sometimes making them fiction rather than fact.”

“The coverage of arts & humanities [ in Scopus ] is extremely poor (representing barely 1% of the database) [ and by comparison ] Web of Science has about […] 10 times as many for arts & humanities.” [ and even if Scopus gets a boost, as proposed, it would still only have ] about 1/6th of what Web of Science has for these disciplines”

“It is one thing that Scopus has no cited references in records for papers published before 1996, but it adds insult to injury that the pre-1996 papers are ignored. This results in absurdly low h-index for many of the senior teaching and research faculty members and independent researchers who published papers well before 1996 which have been widely cited in the past 25-35 years […] Lazy administrators and bureaucrats stop here and ignore [ worthy people ] for some lifetime award”