Last update: Aug 31 2006.

“WoS comes the closest to be a genuinely pan-disciplinary database – at least for the past 30 years of the scholarly and professional literature”. (Jacso P 2005c p. 1540)

How regulary is Web of Science (WoS) updated?

The databse is updated weekly. Typically it takes about 2 weeks from receipt of a journal until it appears in the product, but some journals are given a higher priority and can be indexed in as little as 3 days.

From where does Web of Science extract their bibliographic records?

The majority of records are indexed from the print versions of the journals. However some journals are indexed based on electronic feeds that WoS get directly from the publishers (as long as the electronic versions are of good enough quality and are identical to the print). All the records back to 1900 (includes Century of Science), have been created by using the same indexing rules and processes.

How deep goes WoS indexing procedures?

WoS do cover to cover indexing and index every single item in the journal, this includes all the items such as letters and editorial items. No limits on the number of authors, addresses or the size of the abstract. If there are 200 authors, WoS index them all. WoS do standardization of non-English characters and diacritical marks (e.g. Greek letters such as alpha would be spelled out as “ALPHA”) WoS do address matching and match all author addresses to the internal index and correct any variations (e.g. we would correct “University of Umea” to “Umea Univ”) and complete missing information such as, department names and postal codes.

Which type of sources does WoS index?

How many journal titles does WoS index actively/currently?

How regulary is WoS updating references from PubMed?

How many abstracts and from which years?

Science Citation Index indexes abstracts from 1971 and Social Sciences Citation Index from 1972. WoS just adds abstracts if available within the reference, they do not create abstracts.

How often are journals added and dropped in WoS?

“The actual journals covered in ISI databases keep changing, almost on a weekly basis, as can be seen from the announcements made in Current Contents and on the ISI website; titles are added and occasionally dropped – not arbitrarily, but on the basis of certain clearly enunciated criteria”. Source: (Arunachalam, S. 2004)

Thomson says about 20-30 current journals are added and dropped every month.

Which databases are included in WoS, how many records in each and totally and from which year?

Science Citation Index, 29.462.423 records(Aug 2005), from 1945
Social Sciences Citation Index, 5.098.737, (Aug 2005), from 1956
Arts and Humanities Inde,x 3.274.248 records (Aug 2005), from 1975
Chemical Reactions, less than 100,000 records.
Index Chemicus, less than 100,000 records.
Century of Science, 850.000 records. (Nov 2005).

Altogether about 35.000.000 records. (Nov 2005)

Are there different editions of WoS?

Edition with Century of Science with references from 1900.
Edition with archive from 1945.
Edition with archive from 1986.

How was Century of Science compiled and what is included?

By examing which articles from 1945-2004 in WoS was highly cited 200.000 journal items were found – articles, reports, editorials, reviews and commentaries. By identifying which items that had at least 50 citations to them a collection of 2.000 journals were identified. By further examinations described in the document “The story behind the data” [PDF], a core collection of 262 important journals were selected and indexed. Here’s the list of journal coverage in Century of Science.

Which subjects are covered by WoS?

All subjects are covered by WoS.

“WoS covers all disciplines one can think of or find in
the curricula of universities in science, social sciences,
arts and humanities”
. (Jacso, P 2005c p. 1539)

Distribution of records among the major components of WoS (Jacso 2005c):
Science 77% (28.267.145 records)
Social Sciences 14% (5.055.077 records)
Arts & Humanities 9% (3.234.441 records)

Advanced search operators?

Truncation with asterisk *.
Zero or one character wild card with dollar sign $.
Any single character wild card with question mark ?.

How is author address indexed?

A single correspondence address is indexed, this is known as the “reprint” author and will include the author’s name in brackets at the start of the address. For all other authors the address is indexed and it is not linked to the author’s name. If there are multiple authors from the same institute only one address is indexed, if they are from different departments in the same institution each address will be indexed separately.

What’s the options for subject search?

WoS has a field in general search called Topic. It’s also possibe to search Topic in advanced search with an advanced search operator TS=. Searching Topic means it searches the fields Title, Abstract, Author Keywords, KeyWords Plus.

Author Keywords are uncontrolled keywords defined by the article author.

KeyWord Plus is uncontrolled keywords extracted from the reference list of the article.

Subject Categories is the subject indexing of each journal title. All records hasn’t subject categories. The subject categories are the same used in the Journal Citation Reports .


3 Responses to “FAQ – Web of Science”

  1. saloyer Says:

    I am afraid I cannot aggree with you about update periods of DB. My publication has appeared in a top journal 3 weeks ago but it still has not been indexed.

  2. oneentry Says:

    Be aware this is a very old blog and the information on this page was last updated Aug 31 2006.

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