Data sources

Publish or Perish is a software program that retrieves and analyzes academic citations from external data sources; it does not include a database of its own.

The currently available data sources are:

Data source PoP version Notes
Crossref 6.x  Freely available
Google Scholar 5.x, 6.x  Freely available
Google Scholar Profile 5.x, 6.x  Freely available
Microsoft Academic 5.x, 6.x Requires a subscription from Microsoft
Note: a preregistered subscription key is included from Publish or Perish 6.17 onwards
Scopus 6.x Requires an API key from Elsevier (to be provided)
Web of Science 6.x Requires a subscription from Clarivate (typically provided by your organisation)
External data import 5.x, 6.x  

Please note: We cannot guarantee the continued availability of any of these data sources. The Publish or Perish software has been continuously maintained and updated since 2006, and during that time we have seen many changes to data sources and their content. Although we have been able to keep Publish or Perish compatible with whatever data sources and information were available at any time, unforeseen circumstances may force us to (reluctantly) abandon one or more data sources.

Your continued support and advocacy of both the Publish or Perish software and the external data sources that we use will help to ensure that you and we can keep using Publish or Perish in the future. Thanks in advance for your support to Publish or Perish.

Which data source to use?

Data source Advantages Disadvantages
Crossref
  • No need for a subscription key
  • Usually provides cleaner and smaller number of irrelevant results than Google Scholar and Microsoft Academic
  • Very good data source for “any of the words” key word searches and journal searches by ISSN
  • Search speed fast to medium
  • Typically reports fewer citations than Google Scholar and Microsoft Academic, because it includes fewer journals in some fields and has very limited coverage of books, book chapters and conference papers
  • Author search is problematic as it is very difficult to disambiguate authors
  • Year of publication is year of online-first, not year of print publication
Google Scholar (GS)
  • No need for a subscription key
  • "Forgiving" search syntax
  • Usually provides the largest number of publications and citations
  • Search speed medium for single search with limited number of results
  • Usually provides a larger number of irrelevant results than other data sources
  • Author disambiguation more difficult than GSP, MA and WoS
  • Because of necessary search rate limitation, speed slows down considerably when doing multiple searches in quick succession or running searches with many results
  • Year of publication is sometimes - but not always - year of online first, not year of print publication
Google Scholar Profile (GSP)
  • No need for a subscription key
  • Most "forgiving" search syntax
  • Very quick search, 1-3 seconds for most authors
  • Manual curation by the academic usually means cleaner results than GS
  • Only available if academic in question has set up a profile
  • Can contain "dirty data" if academic has not curated their profile
  • Can be consciously manipulated by unscrupulous academics by adding papers not written by the academic themselves
Microsoft Academic (MA)
  • Usually provides a smaller number of irrelevant results than GS
  • Search speed very fast for searches with less than 200 results, but fast even for repeated searches and searches with many results
  • Usually provides cleaner results than GSP as not all user curate their GSP
  • Seems to provide best automated author disambiguation
  • More restrictive search syntax
  • Does not allow NOT searches
  • Year of publication is usually year of online first, not year of print publication
  • Requires a Microsoft subscription key (a preregistered key is included in Publish or Perish 6.17 and later)
Scopus
  • Provides cleaner and smaller number of irrelevant results than Google Scholar and Microsoft Academic
  • Typically reports more citations than Web of Science
  • Very good data source for key word searches and journal searches by ISSN
  • Full results require (non-free) subscription
  • Search speed slow, but still acceptable
  • Typically reports fewer citations than Google Scholar and Microsoft Academic, because it includes fewer journals in some fields and has a limited coverage of books, book chapters and conference papers
Web of Science

Provides cleaner and smaller number of irrelevant results than Google Scholar and Microsoft Academic

Search speed very fast for nearly any kind of searches

Allows wildcards (e.g. global*) for easier searches

  • Requires (non-free) subscription
  • Typically reports fewer citations than all other sources because it includes fewer journals in many fields (esp. Social Sciences and Humanities) and has a very limited coverage of books, book chapters and conference papers.
  • Typically is last data source to include recent publications as it doesn’t include “in press” papers.