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Marek Halkiewicz, Marzena Malajka


Medical University of Silesia, Katowice, Poland


In the paper, the authors discuss the unreliable aspects of the operations of Web of Science and Scopus databases.

The authors discuss eight problematic aspects of working at Scopus.

Errors in saving authors' personal data result from their incorrect reading from the publication. As a consequence, the number of profiles is artificially increased, there are difficulties finding them in the database.

Scopus generates affiliations that do not match those provided by the authors.

The main profiles of some universities are assigned – as alternative forms –  to the names of other universities with a similar form (e.g. Silesian Medical University and University of Silesia). Because of this, universities lose some of their authors' publications to other universities.

The problem also applies to university profiles. Scopus also assigns a given publication to a different university than the one indicated by the author in the affiliation.

Scopus incorrectly uses magazine titles – in some cases it does not include changing the magazine title and displays the source under an outdated name.

All corrections in Scopus proposed by the librarian or author are made after a long waiting period.

There is also a need to combine authors' profiles to get a full picture of their work. This is a task that librarians and authors must carry out constantly.

After selecting several profiles and clicking the „Show documents” command, the number of works displayed on the next page may be lower than expected.

While working in the Web of Science database, the authors of the paper came across four problems. The database requires correction in the aspect of browsing author profiles. The currently functioning algorithms are imprecise, which translates into the dispersion of the author’s achievements among the profiles of various authors. Merging profiles is a tedious and time-consuming task due to the small range of profile modification. Librarians and authors must perform a multi-stage work, which consists of combining the author’s profile with the largest number of his works and appropriately modified profiles of other authors containing the publications of the analyzed author. The existence of such profiles is a separate problem, which consists in mistakenly attaching to the achievements of one author the works of another person with identical personalities. The authors point out the problem of treating errata for a given work as a separate record. The work and errata to it should be combined so that they do not distort the picture of the author’s achievements. There is a difference in the number of citations assigned to a given work, depending on which way of viewing the database contents we choose: Cited Reference Search or Author Search.

The authors of the paper point out that as a result of the existence of the above-mentioned aspects of the operation of both databases, their use is prolonged and subjected to the risk of obtaining unreliable bibliographic data. The poster was prepared from the perspective of many years of practitioners.


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