The Publish or Perish Book (PDF edition)

The Publish or Perish Book (PDF)

Your guide to effective and responsible citation analysis

© 2010 Anne-Wil Harzing. Published by Tarma Software Research Pty Ltd, Melbourne, Australia, 266 pp. ISBN 978-0-9808485-0-2 (pdf)

Full text electronic version with color images (PDF). PoP is under continuous development. This book is best suited for Publish or Perish version 3 and 4, but 90% of its content is applicable to Publish or Perish version 5 as well.

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Nearly four years after the launch of the software program Publish or Perish, I am delighted to introduce the Publish or Perish book, your guide to effective and responsible citation analysis. Over the years, I have come to realize that PoP can be used for many more purposes than I initially envisaged. This book documents its many and variable uses and shows you how to get the best out of the software program.

Citations are not only a reflection of the impact that a particular piece of academic work has generated. Citations can also be used to tell stories about academics, journals and fields of research. This book is meant to help you create effective stories, but also to teach you how to be a responsible user of research metrics. I hope you enjoy reading it and are able to apply its content to good use.

Anne-Wil Harzing
Melbourne, Australia
September 2010

© 2010 Anne-Wil Harzing. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means (including electronic mail, photocopying, recording, or information storage and retrieval) without permission in writing from the publisher.

As the SOLE exception to the above if you purchased this book in its PDF edition, then you are allowed to print 1 (one) hard copy for your own use only for each licence that you purchased.


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 (chapters 2-6)
  • Academics applying for a job, promotion, or tenure (chapters 7-8, 16)
  • Deans and other academic administrators (chapters 8-9, 16)
  • Academics doing literature research or writing papers or books (chapters 10-11)
  • Bibliometric researchers and librarians (chapters 12-14)
  • Editors and publishers of academic journals (chapters 12, 15)
  • Anyone interested in the strengths and weaknesses of Google Scholar and the ISI Web of Knowledge (chapters 13-15)

Table of contents


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

Part 1: How to use Publish or Perish more effectively

Chapter 2: Introduction to Publish or Perish

2.1 Introduction to Publish or Perish
2.2 Citation metrics
2.3 Exporting the data
2.4 Trouble shooting problems

Chapter 3: Author searches

3.1 Introduction to author searches
3.2 How to perform an effective author impact analysis
3.3 How to improve accuracy in author searches

Chapter 4: Journal searches

4.1 Introduction to journal searches
4.2 How to perform a journal impact analysis
4.3 How to improve accuracy in journal searches

Chapter 5: General citation search queries

5.1 Introduction to general citation search queries
5.2 How to perform a general citation search
5.3 Applications for the general citation search

Chapter 6: Multi-query centre

6.1 Introduction to the multi-query center
6.2 How to use the multi-query center

Part 2: Day-to-day uses of Publish or Perish citation analysis

Chapter 7: Making your case for tenure or promotion

7.1 Create your own reference group
7.2 Pick your metrics wisely
7.3 Single out individual papers
7.4 Compare your best papers to the journal average
7.5 Present comprehensive citations for edited volumes
7.6 What to do if you have very few citations overall?
7.7 Norm scores for different disciplines

Chapter 8: How to evaluate other academics

8.1 Getting a quick impression of someone you are meeting
8.2 Evaluating academics for specific functions
8.3 Writing tributes, laudations or eulogies
8.4 Publication awards
8.5 Preparing for a job interview

Chapter 9: Tips for Deans and other academic administrators

9.1 Treat Google Scholar as a serious alternative data source
9.2 Excluding self-citations is normally not worthwhile
9.3 Don’t expect significant citations for early career academics
9.4 Citation impact can differ substantially by discipline
9.5 Conclusion: What sensible administrators should do

Chapter 10: Where to submit your paper?

10.1 Step 1: Examining which journals publish on your topic
10.2 Step 2: Comparing journals for impact
10.3 Step 3: Before submission: Have you missed any papers?

Chapter 11: Conducting a literature review

11.1 How to conduct a literature review search
11.2 Identify key authors/journals/publications in a field
11.3 Development of the literature over time
11.4 Further examples of literature review applications

Chapter 12: Doing bibliometric research on authors and journals

12.1 Doing bibliometric research for authors
12.2 Doing bibliometric research for journals

Part 3: Advanced topics: Delving deeper into the world of citation analysis

Chapter 13: Evaluating Google Scholar

13.1 Advantages of Google Scholar
13.2 Disadvantages of Google Scholar

Chapter 14: Evaluating Thomson ISI Web of Science

14.1 Advantages of Thomson’s ISI Web of Science
14.2 Disadvantages of ISI’s Web of Science

Chapter 15: A Google Scholar h-index for journals

15.1 Introduction
15.2 Methods
15.3 Results and discussion of the benchmarking analysis
15.4 Discussion and conclusions

Chapter 16: Author citation analysis across disciplines

16.1 Introduction
16.2 Data source comparisons: Citations across disciplines
16.3 Metrics comparisons across disciplines
16.4 Conclusion
16.5 Summary


Appendix 1: License agreement
Appendix 2: Command reference
Appendix 3: Pop-up menu results page
Appendix 4: Export formats
Appendix 5: Message reference
Appendix 6: Pop-up menu multi-query center list view

Content of the book

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.

Part 1: How to use Publish or Perish more effectively

The first part provides step-by-step instructions on how to use Publish or Perish more effectively. An introduction to the main features of the Publish or Perish software is first provided in Chapter 2. Chapters 3 and 4 subsequently provide detailed instructions on how to conduct effective Author and Journal Queries. Chapter 5 is devoted to the broader applications of the General Citation search that can be used to find particular papers, conduct advanced author and journal queries, compare institutional performance and conduct a literature review. Finally, Chapter 6 discusses how the Multi-query Center can be used to effectively store and manage queries for future use.

Part 2: Day-to-day uses of Publish or Perish citation analysis

In Part 2, I present the most common day-to-day uses of the Publish or Perish software. Chapter 7 provides tips and tricks for academics that need to make their case for tenure or promotion. I discuss the importance of reference groups as well as several ways to show your citation record to its best advantage.

In Chapter 8, I discuss how to evaluate other academics. The examples in this chapter vary from a 5-minute preparation before meeting someone you don’t know, to evaluating editorial board members or prospective PhD supervisors, from writing up tributes (or laudations) and eulogies to deciding on publication awards and preparing for a job interview.

Chapter 9 turns the tables and looks at citation analysis for Deans and other academic administrators. It includes four topics: the need to accept Google Scholar as an alternative data source, the myths about self-citation, the inappropriateness of citation analysis at early career stages, and the differences in citation impact across disciplines.

In Chapter 10, I show how Publish or Perish can be used to assist you when you are uncertain which journal to submit it to. It can be used to get ideas of the types of journals that publish articles on the topic you are writing on and to compare a set of journals in terms of their citation impact. Finally, once you have decided on the target journal, it can also help you to double-check that you haven’t missed any prior work from the journal in question.

Chapter 11 shows you how Publish or Perish can be used to do a quick literature review to identify the most cited articles and/or scholars in a particular field. It can also be employed to identify whether any research has been done in a particular area at all (useful for grant applications). Other applications are to evaluate the development of the literature in a particular topic over time.

Finally, Chapter 12 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.

Part 3: Advanced topics: delving deeper into the world of citation analysis

Part 3 of this book deals with more specialized topics. In Chapters 13 and 14, 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 15 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 16 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.


At the end of the book I provide a set of appendices that include the license agreement for Publish or Perish, a command reference, the pop-menu for the results page, export formats, a complete message reference and the pop-up menu for the multi-query center list view.

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