Comparison of bibliographic data sources: Implications for the robustness of university rankings

« Universities are increasingly evaluated, both internally and externally on the basis of their outputs. Often these are converted to simple, and frequently contested, rankings based on quantitative analysis of those outputs. These rankings can have substantial implications for student and staff recruitment, research income and perceived prestige of a university. Both internal and external analyses usually rely on a single data source to define the set of outputs assigned to a specific university. Although some differences between such databases are documented, few studies have explored them at the institutional scale and examined the implications of these differences for the metrics and rankings that are derived from them. We address this gap by performing detailed bibliographic comparisons between three key databases: Web of Science (WoS), Scopus and, the recently relaunched Microsoft Academic (MSA). (…) »