Web of Science

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The Web of Science (formerly known as the ISI Web of Knowledge ) is a paid listing using several scientific online - citation and bibliographic databases . Originally created by the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI), it was bought and operated by Thomson Reuters in 1992 . In 2016, Clarivate Analytics bought the Intellectual Property and Science division with the scientific databases.


The Web of Science is a search interface in which the user can search for relevant scientific literature in various literature and citation databases.

The citation database previously known as the Web of Science is now called the Web of Science Core Collection .

In addition to basic bibliographic information, the following can also be examined:

  • which articles are cited in the selected dataset;
  • which other articles cite the selected dataset.

When indexing , information in footnotes, notes and bibliographies of an article is analyzed and entered in the Web of Science . With the citation analysis, measures for the scientific importance of an article or an author and other bibliometric data are determined (see Impact Factor , which relates to the level of the journal title, and h-index , which records the scientific influence of the author).

From 1945 onwards, the Science Citation Index (SCI) collected citations in the natural sciences ; from 1956 in the social sciences area of ​​the Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI); and from 1975 also in the humanities field of the Arts and Humanities Citation Index (A & HCI). The indices are also available in printed form. Later, conference literature was included in the Conference Proceedings Citation Index (from 1990) and, since 2005, books in the Book Citation Index .

The Web of Science CC has the advantage of interdisciplinarity , i.e. the broad range of subjects from medicine, natural sciences, humanities, social sciences and economics , compared to the pure specialist databases ( Chemical Abstracts , MEDLINE , BIOSIS, INSPEC , MLA International Bibliography , EconLit etc.) . However, the various forms of publication are represented very differently. Articles from congress reports were almost completely missing up to 1990. The subject indexing is rudimentary (immature) and is based on the categorization of the journal and the author's keywords. Abstracts only go back to 1991.

Furthermore, in the humanities, for example, publication behavior differs from that which is common in Science, Technology, Medicine (STM). While the scientific communication in the latter mainly takes place in the field of journal articles, in the former the publication in the form of independent writings (monographs) still plays an important role, which are underrepresented in the Web of Science and will only be available from 2005.

Furthermore, some bibliographical information is not uniformly entered in the articles. For example, articles published in Switzerland may have been indexed with the origin Switzerland or Suisse . Also abbreviations such as FRG ( Federal Republic of Germany , that the Federal Republic of Germany ) or GDR ( German Democratic Republic , so German Democratic Republic ), partly beside the label Germany used.

Access is chargeable and possible at most academic libraries . Many universities have licensing agreements (mostly organized by the library) to or beyond their own Internet access through a VPN - Client also on the Web of Science access.

Search options

In Web of Science , there are four different search modes:

  • Basic Search ,
  • Author Search ,
  • Cited Reference Search ,
  • Advanced Search .

In the Basic Search , the specialist database can be easily searched for by topic, author, group author, source (by journal), year of publication, address, language and document type.

The Cited Reference Search can be used to search for papers that cite a specific article. Based on a well-known article, you can use it to find more recent papers that often deal with related topics.

The Advanced Search is for experienced users and makes it possible to search through all the information contained in all documents with the help of field names. Thus, the term TS = information retrieval for all documents are researched that in the index field Topic (Engl. Topic ) the term information retrieval have. Different search terms can be linked with Boolean operators to refine the search.

Retrieval options

The Web of Science offers both online and offline retrieval options. On the one hand, a set of hits can be examined using the Analyze mode or, on the other hand, it can be saved on the computer using the Export to Reference Software button , where it can be further processed using software such as HistCite or CiteSpace .

In the Analyze mode , all documents found can be sorted and listed by author, country, document type, institute, language, year of publication, source magazine and / or subject . The newly sorted quantity can be marked, displayed or again ranked . So there are recursive rank possibilities.

To use external retrieval software, you can also save the search results in the Web of Science as a text file on your own computer. Depending on the size, this includes several megabytes of memory. The Web of Science can export a maximum of 500 hits ( records ) to a file. The user must therefore save his search results, if they have more than 500 hits, in several files. These can be combined in one file with HistCite .

When exporting, the user can also specify how detailed his search results should be saved. With the Bibliographic Fields option , only basic bibliographic data can be exported. With the Full Record + Cited References option , all data records including the entered citations are saved. The Field Tagged option is useful for using HistCite .

See also


  • Mechtild Stock, Wolfgang G. Stock: Web of Knowledge. Scientific articles, patents and their citations. The science market in focus. In: Password . No. 10, 2003, pp. 30-37 ( PDF ).

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Web of Science Core Collection. Retrieved February 6, 2016 .