In comparison to the many dozens of articles reviewing and comparing (coverage of) the Web of Science, Scopus, and Google Scholar, the bibliometric research community has paid very little attention to Microsoft Academic Search (MAS). An important reason for the bibliometric community’s lack of enthusiasm might have been that MAS coverage was fairly limited, and that almost no new coverage had been added since 2012. Recently, however, Microsoft introduced a new service – Microsoft Academic – built on content that search engine Bing crawls from the web.
This article assesses Microsoft Academic coverage through a detailed comparison of the publication and citation record of a single academic for each the four main citation databases: Google Scholar, Microsoft Academic, the Web of Science, and Scopus. Overall, this first small-scale case study suggests that the new incarnation of Microsoft Academic presents us with an excellent alternative for citation analysis. If our findings can be confirmed by larger-scale studies, Microsoft Academic might well turn out to combine the advantages of broader coverage, as displayed by Google Scholar, with the advantage of a more structured approach to data presentation, typical of Scopus and the Web of Science. If so, the new Microsoft Academic service would truly be a Phoenix arisen from the ashes.