Background: Embase is a bibliographic database covering international biomedical literature from 1947 to the present day. Scopus, likewise, is a bibliographic database, which claims to index more than 60 million records, including over 21,500 peer-reviewed journals and articles-in-press. As they are both produced by Elsevier, would the coverage be identical and is it necessary to search both databases when carrying out a search for a systematic review?
Objectives: To investigate the coverage, to determine the degree of overlap and the unique contributions of Embase and Scopus.
Methods: As a case study we used the search carried out for a systematic review investigating validated existing track and trigger scores for Paediatric Early Warning Systems. The total number of studies included in the review will be examined to determine: 1) which results were retrieved from Embase or Scopus; 2) whether each record was unique to that database; and 3) whether there was an overlap between the two databases.
Results: We will present the results of the searches and the records identified. Preliminary results reveal that 32 out of 34 included studies (48%) resulted from either the Embase or Scopus search. This in itself is an interesting finding.
Conclusions: The findings will have implications for those developing search protocols and enable us to draw conclusions about whether it is essential to search both databases.