Seriously, Scopus?


Five months ago I wrote a blog post mentioning that the Open Journal of Astrophysics (OJAp) had been accepted for listing in Scopus. A couple of months later, I posted an update explaining that the process of was taking much longer than the 4 to 6 weeks I was told it would. Well, I can now report that, a full five months after acceptance, we have finally made it onto the Scopus database.

Great! I hear you say. Well, no actually. Despite taking an excessive length of time to index the Open Journal of Astrophysics, the Scopus crew have messed up the bibliometric data relating to it in a most ridiculous fashion.

Here is the entry:

I draw your attention first to the column marked Documents 2020-23 under which you will see the number 67. In fact we published 99 articles between 2020 and 2023, not 67. This is easily established here. The number 67 relates to the period 2022-23 only. Accidentally or deliberately, Scopus has omitted a third of our papers from its database.

But the error doesn’t end there. Papers published in OJAp between 2020 and 2023 have actually been cited 959 times, not 137. If you restrict the count to papers published in 2022-23 there are 526 citations. It’s no wonder that OJAp has such a low CiteScore, and consequently appears so far down the rankings, when the citation information is so woefully inaccurate.

Incidentally, CiteScores are marketed by Scopus as “metrics you can verify and trust”. Oh no you can’t.

When I first saw this travesty I thought very hard about asking to have OJAp removed from Scopus altogether, but on reflection I decided to contact them with the actual numbers and a request that they issue a correction as soon as possible. Given that it took 5 months to get this far, however, I’m not optimistic for a speedy response.

While I’m waiting for that I suggest you consider whether these egregious errors are simply incompetent or whether they are deliberate acts of sabotage by a front organization for the commercial publishing industry? And another question: how much else in the Scopus database is as badly wrong as the OJAp entry?

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