Difference Between PubMed, Embase, Web of Science and Scopus



Web of Science




Paid for by Skelton Medical Libraries

Paid for by University Libraries

Trial until March 10, 2020

What is it?

Online version of Index Medicus produced by the National Library of Medicine (NLM) used to find literature in medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, the health care system, and the preclinical sciences. In addition to MEDLINE, includes PubMed Central. Since 2008, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Public Access Policy requires that the public has access to the published results of NIH funded research no later than twelve months after the official date of publication. PubMed Central is the archive for these publications.

An Elsevier subscription-based database that covers the same subjects as PubMed/MEDLINE, with an additional focus on drugs and pharmacology, medical devices, clinical medicine, and basic science relevant to clinical medicine.

An online subscription-based scientific citation indexing service maintained by Thomson Reuters that provides a comprehensive citation search, but can be used for topic searching as well. Content focus is life sciences, biomedical sciences, engineering, social sciences, arts & humanities. Indexes MEDLINE. Journal Citation Reports - contains the Journal metrics, including Impact Factor. It is not for searching for topics, but you can search for approximately 12.000 journal titles and discover their Journal Impact Factor within their respective subject category.

A huge multidisciplinary Elsevier subscription-based database with citations and abstracts from peer-reviewed journal literature, trade journals, books, patent records, and conference publications. It provides tools for tracking, analyzing, and visualizing search results. Indexes MEDLINE.

Editorial Process

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) uses an NIH-chartered committee, the Literature Selection Technical Review Committee (LSTRC), to review and recommend biomedical and health-related life science journals for inclusion in MEDLINE®. As NIH funded articles in PubMed Central do not undergo an editorial process, the quality and provenance of some of the journals indexed in PubMed Central has come into question. If an article in PubMed does not say “Indexed for MEDLINE” it may or may not be from a scholarly journal.

Each year several hundred journals of potential interest are screened by an editorial committee entrusted with the review and quality assessment of biomedical publications for Embase.

Curated by a team of in-house editors who use 28 criteria to evaluate journals.

To ensure that Scopus serves the broad information needs of researchers, a Content Selection & Advisory Board (CSAB) continuously reviews suggestions and publishing programs in order to expand content listings.


Back to 1966 and selectively to 1809. Contains over 25 million records. MEDLINE indexes about 6,200 journals.

Back to 1947 and selectively to 1902.

Contains over 29 million records from more than 8,500 journals from at least 90 countries.

Includes all of MEDLINE plus over 2,500 extra titles (including more EU journals) and 260, 000 conference abstracts from over 1,000 conferences.

21,00 active journal titles are indexed in Web of Science, 110,000 proceedings from conferences, symposia, seminars, colloquia worldwide, and 90,000+ books.

Science Citation Index - (literature from 1900-present)

Social Sciences Citation Index - (literature from 1956-present)

Arts & Humanities Citation index - (literature from 1975-present)

Conference Proceedings Citation Index/Science - (literature from 1990-present)

Conference Proceedings Citation Index/Social Science and Humanities - (literature from 1990-present)

BIOSIS Citation Index - Life sciences and biomedical research. From 1926 to present.

Derwent Innovations Index - value-added patent information. From 1963 to present.

1970-present. 25,000 active journals are indexed in Scopus. 4.9 million conference proceedings, 1,200 Open Access journals, results from 386 million scientific web pages, 22 million patent records from 5 patent offices

Full Text

Some free full text available in PubMed via PubMed Central or Open Access journals. Articles subscribed by Mercer Libraries may be accessed using the "Get it @ MUSM Medical Libraries” button or by going to the publishers' websites using the "View Full Text" tabs”

Articles subscribed by Mercer Libraries may be accessed using the "Get it @ MUSM Medical Libraries " button or by going to the publishers' websites using the "View Full Text" tabs.

Articles subscribed by Mercer Libraries may be accessed using the "Get it @ MUSM Medical Libraries " button or by going to the publishers' websites using the "Free Full Text from Publisher" tabs.

Articles subscribed by Mercer Libraries can be accessed.


Easy keyword searching and automatic mapping to MeSH terms.

Use filters to limit results. 'Clinical Queries' allows searching for clinical trials, systematic reviews and medical genetics topics

Conduct advanced searches using Emtree (subjects with more natural language than MeSH) and subheadings.

Basic 'natural language' search with synonym searching & relevance ranking.

Subheadings include specific drug-related topics.

Extensive limiting options available, including types of EBM, clinical trials & routes of drug administration.

When an article of interest is found in the database, searchers can view the references in that article and also see if any newer studies use this article as a reference.

Effective keyword/index term facet based on underlying databases with indexing.

Analyze search results: graphs by

year, source (journal), author, institution affiliation, discipline, country, document type; exportable to MS Excel.

Searches in Scopus incorporate searches of scientific web pages through Scirus, and include author homepages, university sites and resources such as preprint servers and OAI compliant resources.


'Related citations', including highlighting of review articles.

Register with 'My NCBI' to save searches, set up alerts & customize filters

'Find Similar' and 'Find Citing Articles'.

Register to save searches, create email alerts.

The References link will produce all of the articles cited as research in the article shown. Clicking the “Times Cited” link will bring up all of the articles in which the article shown was used as a reference. Related Records will find articles that share citations with the parent article.

Compare journals: compares up to 10 sources by impact metrics: number of citations, number of articles published in a year, % of articles not cited, & % of articles that are review articles, all

graphed by year. View secondary documents, which are documents not indexed in Scopus (retrieved from the references or citations of the documents that are

covered by Scopus).

Set up alerts to track future articles: On a specific topic, by a specific author, that cite an article of interest, and that cite any article by a specific author.

When to Use

To map keywords to subjects (MeSH terms) easily.

To explore the MeSH database as a standalone.

For clinical queries and genetics topics.

To be offered related citations.

For guided Emtree subject searching (including MeSH).

For great basic, natural language searching.

For drug/pharmacy topics (coverage plus subheading options).

To find conference abstracts.

For extensive search limiting options.

Browse through all indexed terms using a tree structure which also allows searching for groups of terms.

Use this to find information on authoring and citing activity by faculty. Can restrict to “high-influence” publications. Contains Journal Impact Factors. Contains good coverage of funding information.

To find information on authoring activity by faculty.

For broad coverage of journals published outside the U.S.

For broad coverage of non-English language publications

For interdisciplinary field coverage. Strong biomedical research coverage. Includes scientific web pages.