PoP 8 new features (11): Google Scholar - include/exclude stray citations and patents

Week 11 of a weekly announcement of new features of Publish or Perish version 8

On the 1st of November 2021, nearly exactly 15 years after first launching Publish or Perish, we released version 8 of the software. After two months of "soft launch", we are now ready to publicise its new features. To do so, I will post about a new feature every Thursday. If you want a complete overview have a look at this blogpost: Publish or Perish version 8.

The Publish or Perish interface now includes an option to include or exclude [citation] results and patents in Google Scholar searches (see screenshot above).

What are [citation] records?

[citation] results are records where Google Scholar has found citing works, but has been unable to find the cited work online. For more details see this tutorial page. Often, these [citation] records are what are commonly called “stray citations”, i.e., citations where citing authors have made small mistakes in citing a work. These can be merged into the master record for the work in question, which will potentially increase your h-index. For more details on this see the blogpost: How to merge “stray citation" records?

In most cases though these stray citations only clutter your result. If you do an author search it makes the author’s publication record look very messy, making it difficult to establish an academic’s primary publications, especially if they are recent and not yet highly cited. If you are doing a journal, title, or keyword search these stray citations are often pure “noise” and do not contribute anything useful to your search. So, excluding them makes a lot of sense in many searches.

[citation] records and author searches

However, it is important to note that Google Scholar assigns the [citation] label to any publication where it cannot find the record online, even if the publication in question is very significant and highly cited. This might include many – though not all – non-journal publications [e.g. books, reports]. So, excluding [citation] records might lead to fewer publications. This might lead to an underestimation of an author’s impact, especially in the Social Sciences and Humanities. It might also lead you to miss seminal books if you do a keyword search for a literature review.

In my own publication record excluding [citation] records reduces the number of results from 407 to 183. Most of the excluded publications are pure dross and are not missed. However, my citations are reduced by nearly 15% and my h-index is reduced from 68 to 63 because three highly cited books, plus the Publish or Perish software and the Journal Quality List are excluded. The other metrics are likewise reduced.

So, if you need a complete a complete record for yourself or an academic you are evaluating, including [citation] records might be essential, especially in the Social Sciences and Humanities. If all you are after is an assessment of someone’s journal publications or if you are doing a literature review in disciplines where only journal articles are important, then excluding them will dramatically simplify the output and speed up your search at the same time.

Download Publish or Perish version 8

You can download the latest version of Publish or Perish from the following pages:

Related blogposts

Support Publish or Perish

Development of the Publish or Perish software is a volunteering effort that has been ongoing since 2006, regularly adding new features and data sources and expanding use cases and geographical distribution.

To keep Publish or Perish free (gratis) for everyone, your contribution toward our costs of hosting, bandwidth, and software development is appreciated. If you find Publish or Perish useful, then this is your chance to say "thank you" to the developers.

You can support us by buying the Publish or Perish guide or tutorial and/or through a donation. Only one user out of every five thousand contributes (that is, only 0.02% of all users!), so any support is very welcome indeed. For more detail see: Support Publish or Perish.

Product name Unit price Quantity
PoP donation (small) GBP 1.00
PoP donation (medium) GBP 10.00
PoP donation (large) GBP 50.00
PoP donation (corporate) GBP 500.00
Publish or Perish guide (2010) GBP 3.49
Publish or Perish tutorial (2016) GBP 2.99

Note: all prices are in Pounds Sterling (GBP). VAT does not apply.