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Searching Scopus: Using Scopus

This guide is intended to provide a basic overview of Elsevier's Scopus database, including content, tips and tricks, and a comparison to Web of Science for those transitioning from that database to Scopus.

Created by Health Science Librarians

About Scopus

Scopus is an abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature and web sources with tools to track, analyze, and visualize research. Scopus provides access to a broad portfolio of peer-reviewed content from around the world. 

Scopus includes the records from the MEDLINE and EMBASE databases, among other included sources. Scopus uses four broad subject areas:  Physical Sciences, Health Sciences, Social Sciences, and Life Sciences

Scopus allows users to:

  • Search for articles, conference proceedings,trade publications, and book chapters on a topic
  • Find author information, such as H-index, and lists of publications
  • Locate Impact metrics for a journal title using SNIP, SJR, and CiteScore
  • Perform citation searches on known articles
  • Identify promising journals in which to publish
  • Match an organization with its research output
  • Locate potential collaborators or subject experts
  • Manage your impact with your ORCID ID
  • Set Citation Alerts

Basic Search

Search Form

Below is the Scopus search screen. Enter your first search term into the search field. If you have more than one concept to your search, select "Add Search Field" to add additional search fields, or conduct separate searches and combine them later using the "Search" button. 

Scopus does NOT have MeSH terms or other subject headings on which to search. 

Scopus defaults to searching an article's Title, Abstract and Keywords.  You can change this in Advanced (see the tab to the left for information on Advanced searching).

Scopus Basic Search

Adapted from Rush University Library's "Scopus User Guide"

Advanced Search

On the Advanced search form, you can create a search using field codes, proximity operators, or boolean operators to narrow the scope of the search.

To create an advanced search, Click "Advanced Search" from the main search page

Scopus advanced search form

To search for keywords in an article's title or abstract, type in  TITLE-ABS before your search terms.  Be sure to use parentheses!  For example, this is correct:  (TITLE-ABS( children OR pediatrics))   but this is not correct:  TITLE-ABS children OR pediatrics

When doing a Boolean search, Scopus insists that parentheses be used correctly.  If you get a message about a Syntax Error, check your (( )).

Scopus needs Boolean operators (AND, OR) to be capitalized.  To exclude in Scopus, you must use AND NOT (not just 'NOT').

Adapted from Rush University Library's "Scopus User Guide"

Author Name Search

Scopus is a great place to look for information about a particular author's published works.    You can start your search for information on Scopus's main search page by clicking "Authors."  While Scopus is a compilation of peer-reviewed articles, it is not comprehensive, so keep in mind that you will only see information about the articles that have been indexed into Scopus.

Start exploring search box- authors

Type in the author's last name, and first name if it will be helpful to locate them.  It is often a good idea to put an Affiliation as well.

The author's information will appear.  To see all their published work that has been indexed into Scopus, click the box in front of their name and then click "Show documents."

If you are checking on your own citations and notice that you have more than one listing, click "Request to merge authors."

Image showing author's information

If this is your information and there are multiple BOXES for your name, you can merge them by clicking the "Request to merge authors" link and following the steps.

For a visual representation of this author's work, click the box for All, then "View citation information."

Adapted from Rush University Library's "Scopus User Guide"

Citation Searching

To find citation counts in Scopus

  1. Go to the Scopus database
  2. Search by the document's title
  3. In the results list, look in the far-right hand column for the citation count.
  4. To see what documents cited the document, click on the citation count.

Adapted from Rush University Library's "Scopus User Guide"

Creating alerts

By registering as a Scopus user, you are able to create search, document, and author alerts to stay up-to-date at your desired frequency. Use these alerts to receive email notices when new documents are loaded on Scopus. From the Alerts page, you can create alerts, view the latest results for an alert, edit alerts, and delete alerts. There is no limit on the number of alerts you can create.

A Search alert is a saved search that you can schedule to run at certain intervals. If any new results are found, you will receive an email with the first 25 results and a link into Scopus to access all new results. You must be logged in to set an alert or work with your saved alerts.

To set a new search alert:

  1. From the Document Search page, perform a new search. The Search results page opens.
  2. From the search results page, click Set alert. The Set Alert pop-up appears.
  3. Set the frequency and day of week to start alerts.

To set an author alert:

  1. From the Author page, perform a new search. The Search results page opens.
  2. From the search results page, click an author's name. The author details page opens.
  3. From the author details page, click Get citation alerts. The Set Alert Author Citation Alert pop-up opens.

To set a document alert:

  1. From the Document search page, perform a new search. The Search results page opens.
  2. From the search results page, click an document's name. The Document details page opens.
  3. From the Document details page, click Set citation alerts. The Set Document Citation Alert pop-up opens.

Adapted from Rush University Library's "Scopus User Guide"

Exporting items to Citation Managers

To export items to SciWheel, EndNote, Zotero, or another citation manager, look in the grey bar (found at the top of your search results) for the words "RIS Export."   Note that you can also email citations (with links) to yourself in this bar.

You can export or email individual citations using the links in this bar, or you can save citations into a List and export/email the entire list at once by using the List function.  See "Saving Items in a List" in the tabs to the left for more information. 

RIS export to citation manager

The drop-down arrow next to "RIS Export" provides options for what information you'd like to export.  We recommend checking of all boxes so that all information is sent.

Clicking the "RIS Export" button will create a file that will be in your Downloads folder and will probably show in in the grey bar along the bottom of your screen.  

Adapted from Rush University Library's "Scopus User Guide"

Analyzing Results

>Analyze Search Results

Scopus offers several built-in functions for analyzing search results.  You can find these options here:

Analyze Results shown by author


The analysis tools provide a summary view of aspects of the search results, such as counts of publications:

  • By author
  • By document source (ex. Journal Title)
  • By affiliation (author organization)
  • By document type (ie. journal article, book chapter, etc.)
  • And several other criterion

Create Bibliography

With Scopus, you can create a bibliography of articles on the fly. 

1. Select the articles in your search set that you would like to include in your bibliography. You can do this by checking off the boxes of the articles you want, or by using the "add to list" feature to just add those articles you want. When you add the articles to the list, your list will open. From there, select all. 



select articles to include and click on create bibliography




2.  Click on the three dots at the top right that indicate "more menu options".  Select the option "Create Bibliography".


select format and citation style





3. Select which format you want (HTML or text) and select the appropriate citation style. Click on "Create Bibliography".