Publish or Perish General Search - a Swiss Army Knife?

Lists five little known things you can do with the PoP General Citation Search


So you've read the whole PoP tutorial including the detailed instructions on how to use the General Citation Search effectively. But what if I told you there are at least a dozen more things you can do with Publish or Perish that are not even discussed in the 80 tips? You would surely think I am exaggerating? Seriously, what about the following five?

Figure out "citation connections" between you and another academic

Google Scholar searches for keywords in the entire text of full-text document. Hence, a simple citation search for your own name in the author field and the another academic's name in the All of the words field will quickly list the articles in which you have cited the academic's work. The screenshot below shows the first 12 of 31 articles in which I have cited Rosalie Tung, sorted chronologically with the earliest article first. You can clearly see I have been referring to her work throughout my career.


Of course this works the other way around as well: you can find out if the other academic has ever cited you. What better way to find out common interests? The screenshot below shows all 13 articles in which Rosalie Tung has cited me, sorted chronologically with the latest articles first.


As this type of search relies on Google Scholar searching the list of references and referencing formats differ by journal, you will need to include the author's family name only in the All of the words field. Obviously, this means that this type of search only works if the author's family name isn't too common. However, even for fairly common names it is not that likely that there are two academics with the same family name in a specific sub-discipline. Hence you will normally get quite a good result.

How much is [author x] cited in [journal y]?

You can use the same technique to find out how much a particular author is cited in a particular journal. This gives you a good idea which conversations you are part of; it might thus be useful if you are submitting to the journal in question. The screenshot below shows the first 12 of 121 articles published in the Journal of International Business Studies (the top journal in my field) that are citing one or more of my publications. An analysis like this also allows you to verify whether the number of citing articles increases over time. In this case, they did: increasing from 13 in 2001-2005 to 38 in 2006-2010 to 70 in 2011-2016.


Has this job applicant published without their supervisor?

Usually, early publications of PhD students are co-authored with their supervisors. This sometimes makes it hard to assess to what extent the student is able to do work as an independent researcher. However, later on in their career we would normally expect them to work on their own or with other academics. So how do you find out whether this is indeed the case? You simply run a search with their name and the name of their supervisor (preceded by a minus sign "-").

For example, my PhD student Sebastian Reiche published two journal articles and a handbook chapter out of his PhD with me and his other PhD supervisor, Maria Kraimer. He also co-authored two articles and a book chapter with me and Markus Pudelko as a junior academic. However, as the screenshot below shows, he published a large number of articles on his own and with other academics, even during the time he published with his supervisors. No wonder I am so proud of him!


What has this author published during their tenure at [university x]?

You might wonder what a particular author has published during the time they were affiliated with a particular university. Although it is hard to get a completely accurate record on this with Google Scholar, you can usually get a good approximation by searching for the author's name and the university in All of the words. Remember you will need to quote the name of the university as otherwise Google Scholar will interpret the words as separate keywords.

For example, the screenshot below shows what I have published with a Middlesex University affiliation, the university that I joined in July 2014. There are several limitations to this strategy though, especially for mobile researchers. Other papers might have been published with a former employer's affiliation during my tenure at Middlesex. This is especially true if they had been in press for quite a while, something that tends to happen frequently in the Social Sciences.

Nearly all of my 2014 publications and several of my 2015 publications for instance still carried a University of Melbourne affiliation. Moreover this strategy works best for the author's last affiliation as prior affiliations might be mentioned in an author's bio and thus provide false hits. Even so, it might be useful as a "quick and dirty" assessment.


Have these two academics ever published together?

Finding out whether two academics have published together couldn't be easier. Just add both names in the author field, separated by AND, and you will get a nice list of publications that they have co-authored. As this is a fairly restrictive search, in most cases using family names only is sufficient, though if one or both of the authors' names are common you might need to add an initial or given name.

For example, the screenshot below shows that between 2007 and 2016 Markus Pudelko and I have co-authored 12 publications. As is reflected in the authorship order, the early publications were mainly based on his research (PhD), whereas the later publications were based on a collaborative project that I led. The presence of Sebastian Reiche (my former PhD student) and Helene Tenzer (junior professor in Markus' group) as co-authors in later publications shows our natural progression to senior authorship roles. 



There is no end to the number of different questions that can be answered with Publish or Perish using some smart searching techniques. If you have found a particularly intriguing use please do let me know and I will post it in my blog.

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