General citation search

The General citation search page allows you to perform an Advanced Scholar Search query and analyse its results. This page contains all parameters accepted by Google Scholar. Publish or Perish uses these parameters to perform a Google Scholar query, which is then analyzed and converted to a number of statistics. The results are available on-screen and can also be copied to the Windows clipboard (for pasting in other applications) or saved to a text file (for future reference or further analysis).

The General citation search page contains the following panes:

For important background information, see:

Tip: Any queries that you execute on this page are automatically added to the Recent queries folder on the Multi-queries center page.

How to perform a general citation search

To perform a general citation analysis:

  1. Enter the relevant parameters in the various fields (see General query pane for an explanation of each parameter);
  2. Click Lookup or press the Enter key.

The program will now contact Google Scholar to obtain the citations, process the list, and calculate the Citation metrics, which are then displayed in the Results pane. The full list of results is also available for inspection or modifications and can be exported in a variety of formats.

Important note

A general citation query gives access to all the query fields of an Advanced Scholar Search, accessible through a separate link on the Google Scholar home page. This is not the same as a standard Google Scholar search (i.e., from the Google Scholar home page).

A standard Google Scholar search is equivalent to performing an All of the words query, which matches the search terms anywhere in the searched documents (author, title, source, abstract, references etc.) and usually provides too many irrelevant results for an effective citation analysis. Hence it is normally recommended to use a more specific query; see Author impact analysis, Journal impact analysis, and the section Refining the search below.

However, if you do want to get the same results in Publish or Perish as with a standard Google Scholar search, do the following.

  1. Empty all text fields except All of the words.
  2. Enter your query terms in the All of the words field.
  3. Set the Year of publication fields both to 0.
  4. Clear the Title words only field.
  5. Click on Lookup.
  6. When the results appear, click on the Rank column header to sort the results in the order in which Google Scholar returned them.

Refining the search

In many cases the list of results will contain works of authors that are not the intended author. You can refine the citation search and analysis with one or more of the following methods. See Accuracy of the results for additional notes and cautions.

Warning If you change the any of the fields (except the selections in the Results list), you must resubmit the search by clicking Lookup again.

Include an author's initials

You can use a more detailed author's name, for example by including initials. A search for Harzing can be refined by changing it to A Harzing (or Harzing A, which has the same effect); likewise, you can use CT Kulik instead of Kulik if you know that the author usually publishes with those two initials. Be careful, though: authors are not always consistent in the initials that they use, and references to their articles may use other combinations or formats still.

Tip: Name matching is not case-sensitive; harzing, Harzing, and HARZING all match the same works.

Quoting the author's name

By default, Google Scholar matches the name and initials anywhere in the list of authors, so CT Kulik would also be matched by P Kulik, CT Williamson. To match an author's initials only in combination with her or his own surname, use "quotes" around the author's name: "CT Kulik" will not match P Kulik, CT Williamson, but it will match CT Kulik and CTM Kulik, or any other name that contains both CT and Kulik.

Search for multiple authors

To search for articles co-written by specific authors, enter all their names in the Author's name field: "C Kulik" "M Ambrose" will return only articles that have both authors in their author list.

You can also use the logical OR operator in the field to find articles written by either author or by both: "C Kulik" OR "M Ambrose" returns articles authored by C Kulik and M Ambrose separately (although possibly with others), or co-authored by both.

Warning Do not try to use the AND keyword in an author search. Google Scholar does not recognize this keyword and will treat it as a normal search word. Instead, just enter multiple author names; this will behave as an "and" search by default.

Excluding certain authors

To exclude certain author names, enter them in the None of the words field. For example, to exclude CLC Kulik from the earlier example, enter "CLC Kulik" in the None of the words field. You can enter more than one exclusion in None of the words: "CL Kulik" "CLC Kulik" would exclude both these combinations from the search.

Include only works that contain specific words

To restrict the search to works that contain or do not contain specific words, you can enter these words in the following fields:

You can check the Title words only box to require that the given words must (or must not) appear in the title of the work. If you leave this box unchecked, the words may appear (or may not appear) anywhere in the work, including the list of author names (as illustrated above).

Include or exclude individual works

If the list of results is fairly limited, you can manually include or exclude citations from the analysis by checking or clearing the boxes in the Results list.

Tip: In contrast to the other refinements, changes in the Results list take effect immediately and are reflected in the Impact summary field. You do not have to resubmit your search.

Here are some shortcuts:

You can also select a consecutive range of items in the list (left-click on the first item, then hold either Shift key and left-click on the last item) and use the Check selection/Uncheck selection buttons to check/uncheck all selected items and recalculate the citation statistics.

Searching for citations of chapters in an edited volume

To find citations of chapters that appear in an edited volume, use the following parameters:

Searching for journals using ISSNs

It is possible to conduct a journal impact analysis using ISSNs instead of journal titles. In order to do so include the ISSN in the field The phrase.

Considerable caution is necessary in using this approach, because Google Scholar results do not seem to be identical when using the ISSN instead of journal title. For many journals the differences are only small, with the h-index generally being 1-4% lower when using ISSN searches. However, for some journals differences are much larger: Journal of Applied Psychology for instance registers a 15% lower h-index when searching with its ISSN. Finally, for some journals (e.g. Australian Journal of Management) Google Scholar provides virtually no hits when searching with their ISSN. I would therefore not recommend using ISSNs except to exclude false hits when searching for journal titles that include common words.

Using a general query to do a literature review or identify key scholars in a field

The general query can be very useful to do a quick literature review to identify the most cited articles and/or scholars in a particular field. Of course it can also identify whether any research has been done in a particular area at all (useful for grant applications).

Depending on how broad you want the results to be, you could use Any of the words, All of the words or The phrase (see General query pane for details). This will match these words anywhere in the resulting publications. If you want to narrow down the results as much as possible, ticking the Title words only box will only provide publications where the words are included in the title. As one would normally expect important publications in a field to include relevant key words in their title, this might be a good strategy.

Example 1: If you would like to know how much has been written about the relatively new concept of "born global" firms in international business, enter "born global" OR "born globals" in All of the words, check the Title words only box. This immediately identifies a dozen key papers in the field. Sorting the results by year allows you to identify the "founding authors" of the concept.

Example 2: If you would like to know whether anything influential has been written about management in Russia, enter management OR managerial, Russia in All of the words, check the Title words only box. The results quickly establish that there are only a few papers and authors in this field that have a substantial number of citations.