Can Microsoft Academic assess the early citation impact of in-press articles? A multi-discipline exploratory analysis
Many journals post accepted articles online before they are formally published in an issue. Early citation impact evidence for these articles could be helpful for timely research evaluation and to identify potentially important articles that quickly attract many citations. This article investigates whether Microsoft Academic can help with this task. For over 65,000 Scopus in-press articles from 2016 and 2017 across 26 fields, Microsoft Academic found 2-5 times as many citations as Scopus, depending on year and field. From manual checks of 1,122 Microsoft Academic citations not found in Scopus, Microsoft Academic's citation indexing was faster but not much wider than Scopus for journals. It achieved this by associating citations to preprints with their subsequent in-press versions and by extracting citations from in-press articles. In some fields its coverage of scholarly digital libraries, such as arXiv.org, was also an advantage. Thus, Microsoft Academic seems to be a more comprehensive automatic source of citation counts for in-press articles than Scopus.