Northwestern's subscription to this ISI Thomson Reuters product is comprised of:
Note: Especially for humanities and social sciences, it is best to search All Databases (simultaneously) rather than limit to a General Category or Subject Area. The Book Citation Index is of limited size and, hence, value.
Evaluation methods and Specialized Tools include:
Many of the criticisms below can be applied to other tools as well. In short, JCR and Web of Science are fine tools for certain subjects and their results should be combined with other analyses.
the utility of the Book Citation Index is limited due to the small number of publications included
some areas of study are not represented (especially within the humanities and social sciences)
Examples from the SIGMETRICS listserv:
(1) Infection dynamics on scale-free networks, R. M. May and A. L. Lloyd, Physical Review E 64, 066112 (2001)
A regular WOS search for this paper says that it was cited 72 times between 2001 and 2007, but zero times after that. This looked odd to me, so I did a "cited reference search" for the same paper, which reveals what the problem is. In cited reference search, the citations for this paper are divided between two variants (as is often the case with cited reference search), with one variant corresponding to the main WOS entry (the one with 72 citations), and the other not. Both variants are correct in this case (no typos). The only difference I can see is that the main WOS entry uses an abbreviated journal name "PHYS REV E", while the variant entry uses the full journal name "Physical Review E". Other than that they appear to be basically the same.
But here's the issue: the "variant" entry has 209 citations -- by far the majority of citations to this paper, and all citations after 2007. In other words a straightforward search for this paper in WOS misses almost all (74 percent) of citations. This is just one example paper, but I have found a number of other similar examples." (Mark Newman)
(2) "The problem is so severe and so well-known that I actually coined a name for such variants in citation data and have used it in several publications: "allonyms." For example, in Web of Science data the information scientist Karen Sparck Jones appears as both "Jones KS" and Sparckjones K." Henry Small is cited as both "Small H" and as "Small HG," sometimes in the same paper. It seemed to me that the term was needed because such variants are not really synonyms in the usual linguistic sense. Allonyms occur in names of journals and books, as well as authors, throughout citation indexes." (Howard White)