Quick introduction

This quick introduction relates to author searches only as this is the type of search most frequently conducted with Publish or Perish. If you want to conduct Journal searches or General searches or want even more information about Author searches please refer to the relevant pages.

If you really want to make the most of the many possible ways in which Publish or Perish can be used, refer to the Publish or Perish tutorial for dozens of use cases, ranging from job interviews to promotion applications and literature reviews to bibliometric research or check the blogposts with Publish or Perish tips.

Which data source to use?

Data source Advantages Disadvantages
Google Scholar Profile (GSP)
  • Most "forgiving" search syntax
  • Much quicker search than GS
  • No need for a subscription key
  • 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 conscioulsy manipulated by unscrupulous academics
Google Scholar (GS)
  • "Forgiving" search syntax
  • No need for a subscription key
  • Usually provides a larger number of publications and citations than MA
  • Usually provides a larger number of irrelevant results than GSP and MA
  • Author disambiguation more difficult than GSP and MA
  • Much slower search than GSP and MA
Microsoft Academic (MA)
  • Usually provides a smaller number of irrelevant results than GS
  • Much quicker search than GS
  • Usually provides cleaner results than GSP as not all user curate their GSP
  • More restrictive search syntax
  • Currently does not allow manual curation of the data [profiles are currently beta-tested]
  • Does not allow NOT searches
  • Necessitates requesting a (free) Microsoft subscription key

Using Search terms effectively: Google Scholar Profile (GSP)

The GSP search is very "forgiving"; most searches will provide some kind result.

  1. There is no need to use quotes around the author's name, e.g. A Harzing or Anne-Wil Harzing is fine.
  2. Adding an affiliation will usually be effective to narrow down the search.
  3. When uncertain about an academic's initial(s) or (the spelling of) and academic's given name, start with a search of their family name and simply look through the list of profile matches.
  4. When uncertain about (the spelling of) an academic's family name, start with a search of a given name and the academic's affiliation and simply look through the list of profile matches.

Using Search terms effectively: Google Scholar (GS)

  1. Although GS will provide a result when searching for a family only, it is preferable to use both an initial (or given name) and a family name.
  2. Always use "quotes" around the author’s name, e.g. "A Harzing".
  3. GS is not case dependent, "A HARZING" gives the same result as "a harzing"
  4. The order of search terms does not matter. "A Harzing" will give the same result as "Harzing A".
  5. Using an author’s initial(s) rather than their full given name will usually present the most comprehensive results.
  6. If an author has mostly published with two initials, but has incidental publications with one initial, a combined search with initials and full given name (e.g. "C T Kulik" OR "Carol Kulik") will usually capture all of their publications.
  7. If an author has published under two different names (e.g. maiden name and married name) use OR between search terms for a combined search.
  8. If an author has consistently published with only one initial, you can exclude namesakes in the "none of the words" field by using 2nd and 3rd initials with wildcards, e.g. when searching for "G Sewell", you can exclude "G* Sewell" "G** Sewell". You cannot use "*G Sewell" to exclude "W G Sewell" or "A G Sewell". You need to manually exclude these authors by listing them in the "none of the words" field.

Using Search terms effectively: Microsoft Academic (MA)

  1. Always use both an initial (or given name) and a family name; MA will not provide a result when you use a family name only.
  2. Always use "quotes" around the author’s name, e.g. "A Harzing".
  3. MA is not case dependent, "A HARZING" gives the same result as "a harzing".
  4. The order of search terms does matter: "A Harzing" will give a result, "Harzing A" will not give a result.
  5. The effectiveness of search terms varies by author; for some authors using inital(s) is more effective, for others using a given name works better. Experiment for the best result.
  6. Usually a combined search with initials and full given name (e.g. "C T Kulik" OR "Carol Kulik") will capture all of the academic's publications.
  7. If an author has published under two different names (e.g. maiden name and married name) use OR between search terms for a combined search.
  8. At present, MA does not support exclusions through "none of the words". However, if necessary, you can restrict an author search by including common research terms in the "any of the words" fields. This is quite a time-consuming strategy, but fortunately is not needed for 95% of the authors.

Limiting year, (de)selecting and merging results

  1. Before limiting the year range, always check whether an author has highly cited publications without a year listing.
  2. You can deselect publications not published by the target author. Simply remove the tick mark in the first column by clicking on it.
  3. You can (de)select more than one publication at once by first selecting the relevant publications and then clicking the "(un)check selection" button.
  4. If the results contain duplicate entries, you can merge them by dragging and dropping the duplicate entries onto the master record.
  5. Selecting relevant publications for unchecking or merging can be made easier by first sorting the results by Cites, Authors, Title, Year, Publication, or Publisher. Sorting is done simply by clicking on the corresponding column heading. Click twice to reverse the sort order.

Support Publish or Perish

The development of the Publish or Perish software is a volunteering effort that has been ongoing since 2006. Download and use of Publish or Perish is and will remain free (gratis), but your support toward the costs of hosting, bandwidth, and software development are appreciated. Your support helps further development of Publish or Perish for new data sources and additional features.