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Can Microsoft Academic assess the early citation impact of in-press articles? A multi-discipline exploratory analysis


  • Kousha, Kayvan
  • Thelwall, Mike
  • Abdoli, Mahshid


Many journals post accepted articles online before they are formally published in an issue. Early citation impact evidence for these articles could be helpful for timely research evaluation and to identify potentially important articles that quickly attract many citations. This article investigates whether Microsoft Academic can help with this task. For over 65,000 Scopus in-press articles from 2016 and 2017 across 26 fields, Microsoft Academic found 2–5 times as many citations as Scopus, depending on year and field. From manual checks of 1122 Microsoft Academic citations not found in Scopus, Microsoft Academic’s citation indexing was faster but not much wider than Scopus for journals. It achieved this by associating citations to preprints with their subsequent in-press versions and by extracting citations from in-press articles. In some fields its coverage of scholarly digital libraries, such as, was also an advantage. Thus, Microsoft Academic seems to be a more comprehensive automatic source of citation counts for in-press articles than Scopus.

Suggested Citation

  • Kousha, Kayvan & Thelwall, Mike & Abdoli, Mahshid, 2018. "Can Microsoft Academic assess the early citation impact of in-press articles? A multi-discipline exploratory analysis," Journal of Informetrics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 287-298.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:infome:v:12:y:2018:i:1:p:287-298
    DOI: 10.1016/j.joi.2018.01.009

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Anne-Wil Harzing & Satu Alakangas, 2017. "Microsoft Academic: is the phoenix getting wings?," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 110(1), pages 371-383, January.
    2. Mike Thelwall, 2018. "Does Microsoft Academic find early citations?," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 114(1), pages 325-334, January.
    3. Fairclough, Ruth & Thelwall, Mike, 2015. "More precise methods for national research citation impact comparisons," Journal of Informetrics, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 895-906.
    4. Bornmann, Lutz, 2013. "The problem of citation impact assessments for recent publication years in institutional evaluations," Journal of Informetrics, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 722-729.
    5. Estevao Alves-Silva & Ana Carolina Figueira Porto & Carine Firmino & Henrique Venancio Silva & Ingrid Becker & Liegy Resende & Livia Borges & Luana Pfeffer & Marcela Silvano & Melina Santos Galdiano &, 2016. "Are the impact factor and other variables related to publishing time in ecology journals?," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 108(3), pages 1445-1453, September.
    6. Judit Bar-Ilan, 2010. "Web of Science with the Conference Proceedings Citation Indexes: the case of computer science," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 83(3), pages 809-824, June.
    7. repec:bla:jinfst:v:68:y:2017:i:3:p:780-789 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Pardeep Sud & Mike Thelwall, 2014. "Evaluating altmetrics," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 98(2), pages 1131-1143, February.
    9. Anne-Wil Harzing & Satu Alakangas, 2017. "Microsoft Academic is one year old: the Phoenix is ready to leave the nest," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 112(3), pages 1887-1894, September.
    10. Sven E. Hug & Martin P. Brändle, 2017. "The coverage of Microsoft Academic: analyzing the publication output of a university," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 113(3), pages 1551-1571, December.
    11. Mike Thelwall, 2016. "Interpreting correlations between citation counts and other indicators," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 108(1), pages 337-347, July.
    12. Jonathan Adams, 2005. "Early citation counts correlate with accumulated impact," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 63(3), pages 567-581, June.
    13. Thelwall, Mike, 2018. "Microsoft Academic automatic document searches: Accuracy for journal articles and suitability for citation analysis," Journal of Informetrics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 1-9.
    14. Thelwall, Mike, 2017. "Three practical field normalised alternative indicator formulae for research evaluation," Journal of Informetrics, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 128-151.
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    18. Stephan B. Bruns & David I. Stern, 2016. "Research assessment using early citation information," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 108(2), pages 917-935, August.
    19. Mike Thelwall & Kayvan Kousha, 2017. "ResearchGate versus Google Scholar: Which finds more early citations?," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 112(2), pages 1125-1131, August.
    20. Judit Bar-Ilan, 2008. "Which h-index? — A comparison of WoS, Scopus and Google Scholar," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 74(2), pages 257-271, February.
    21. Thelwall, Mike, 2017. "Microsoft Academic: A multidisciplinary comparison of citation counts with Scopus and Mendeley for 29 journals," Journal of Informetrics, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 1201-1212.
    22. Halevi, Gali & Moed, Henk & Bar-Ilan, Judit, 2017. "Suitability of Google Scholar as a source of scientific information and as a source of data for scientific evaluation—Review of the Literature," Journal of Informetrics, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 823-834.
    23. Ehsan Mohammadi & Mike Thelwall & Kayvan Kousha, 2016. "Can Mendeley bookmarks reflect readership? A survey of user motivations," Journal of the Association for Information Science & Technology, Association for Information Science & Technology, vol. 67(5), pages 1198-1209, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Iman Tahamtan & Lutz Bornmann, 2019. "What do citation counts measure? An updated review of studies on citations in scientific documents published between 2006 and 2018," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 121(3), pages 1635-1684, December.
    2. Michael Thelwall, 2018. "Can Microsoft Academic be used for citation analysis of preprint archives? The case of the Social Science Research Network," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 115(2), pages 913-928, May.
    3. Kousha, Kayvan & Thelwall, Mike, 2018. "Can Microsoft Academic help to assess the citation impact of academic books?," Journal of Informetrics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 972-984.

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