The Publish or Perish Book: Doing bibliometric research with Google Scholar

The Publish or Perish Book, part 3

© 2011 Anne-Wil Harzing. Published by Tarma Software Research Pty Ltd, Melbourne, Australia, 108 pp. ISBN 978-0-9808485-5-7 (pbk, b&w)

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(This is the third part of the full book; together with part 1 and part 2 it covers the same material as the full paperback edition.)

Other editions of The Publish or Perish Book...

The Publish or Perish book is a companion to the Publish or Perish software program, which retrieves and analyzes academic citations.

Part 3 of the book (featured on this page) discusses how to use Publish or Perish when doing bibliometric research. It provides tips and tricks in doing bibliometric research on authors and journals and presents a detailed evaluation of the two main data sources for citation analysis: Google Scholar and Thomson ISI's Web of Science. The book also proposes an alternative to the traditionally used ISI Journal Impact Factor to evaluate journals and shows how different data sources and citation metrics impact on comparisons of academics between disciplines.

The first chapter provides a brief introduction to citation analysis as well as an overview of the most popular data sources and metrics in use.

Chapter 2 discusses how to use Publish or Perish when doing bibliometric research. Bibliometric research refers to the quantitative analysis of bodies of literature and their references: citations. These bodies of literature can be grouped in many different ways, but in this chapter, I will focus on the grouping by author or journal and discuss some tips and tricks in doing bibliometric research on authors and journals.

In Chapters 3 and 4, it first provides a detailed evaluation of the two main data sources for citation analysis: Google Scholar and Thomson ISI’s Web of Science. I show that Google Scholar’s advantages mainly lie in being a free, easy-to-use, quick and comprehensive source of citation analysis, with its disadvantages related to not being a structured bibliographic database.

ISI’s main advantages lie in the fact that, as a traditional bibliographic database, it allows more complex and focused search options, the option to filter and refine queries, and further analyze results. ISI’s most important disadvantage lies in its lack of comprehensive coverage, resulting in an often serious underestimation of citation impact. In addition, ISI has a number of idiosyncracies: difficulty in reliably establishing self-citations, poor handling of stray citations, and frequent misclassification of original research articles as review articles and proceedings articles.

Chapter 5 proposes an alternative to the traditionally used ISI Journal Impact Factor (JIF) to evaluate journals. It proposes both an alternative metric – Hirsch’s h-index – and data source – Google Scholar – to assess journal impact. Using a comparison between the Google Scholar h-index and the ISI JIF for a sample of 838 journals in Economics & Business, I argue that the former provides a more accurate and comprehensive measure of journal impact.

Finally, Chapter 6 shows how different data sources and citation metrics impact on comparisons of academics between disciplines. This chapter analyses the citation records of ten full professors in a variety of disciplines to illustrate how different data sources and different citations metrics might lead to very different conclusions.

See also:

Audience

The Publish or Perish Book is intended for all academic and non-academic readers who want to make better use of the Publish or Perish software and the Google Scholar database in general:

  • Anyone interested in making better use of the Publish or Perish software
  • Academics applying for a job, promotion, or tenure
  • Deans and other academic administrators
  • Academics doing literature research or writing papers or books
  • Bibliometric researchers and librarians
  • Editors and publishers of academic journals
  • Anyone interested in the strengths and weaknesses of Google Scholar and the ISI Web of Knowledge

Table of contents

Preface

Chapter 1: Introduction to citation analysis

1.1 Introduction
1.2 Why citation analysis?
1.3 Data sources for citation analysis
1.4 Citation metrics
1.5 Overview of the book
References

Chapter 2: Doing bibliometric research on authors and journals

2.1 Doing bibliometric research for authors
2.2 Doing bibliometric research for journals
References

Chapter 3: Evaluating Google Scholar

3.1 Advantages of Google Scholar
3.2 Disadvantages of Google Scholar
References

Chapter 4: Evaluating Thomson ISI Web of Science

4.1 Advantages of Thomson’s ISI Web of Science
4.2 Disadvantages of ISI’s Web of Science
References

Chapter 5: A Google Scholar h-index for journals

5.1 Introduction
5.2 Methods
5.3 Results and discussion of the benchmarking analysis
5.4 Discussion and conclusions
References

Chapter 6: Author citation analysis across disciplines

6.1 Introduction
6.2 Data source comparisons: Citations across disciplines
6.3 Metrics comparisons across disciplines
6.4 Conclusion
6.5 Summary
References