Accuracy: Selective merge

Note: This tutorial was originally written for Publish or Perish version 4 and all screenshots come from this version. However, the information as such is also applicable for the latest Publish or Perish versions 5 and 6. For information about accuracy in Microsoft Academic, please see the helpfile.

Selective merging in Publish or Perish saves time if you are only interested in the h-index.

Check publications that are "just out" of the h-index

This involves checking whether you have any publications that are close to becoming part of the h-index and verify whether any stray references can be found for those. These references can then be merged into their master record. I would normally recommend checking all publications within 5 citations of reaching the required number of citations to be included in the h-index.

Extended example of selective merge

Let’s work through an example of how this works. The screenshot below shows the publications in my “raw” citation record - back in 2009 - that might qualify for inclusion in the h-index. The Expatriate Failure article with Christensen is the last paper to be included in my then h-index of 23.

tip14

Duplicate paper without sub-title

The next paper [Response styles in cross-national survey research] has 21 citations, but there is a duplicate paper with an equal number of citations. The duplicate paper does not include the subtitle, but a quick verification of the citing articles shows that they are indeed different from those citing the paper with the subtitle. Hence this would be a prime candidate for merging, which increases the h-index to 24.

Merging doesn't always increase the h-index

The next paper [The interaction between language and culture] does have some stray citations (found by sorting the results by publication), but not enough to enter into the h-index. The Publish or Perish program has a fairly large number of stray citations with academics referring to different versions, and hence when merged becomes part of the h-index with 26 citations. However, as the original last paper included [Expatriate Failure:…] only has 24 citations, the h-index still remains at 24. Checking this paper, however, I also found some stray citations. Merging them into the master record results in an h-index of 25. The Journal quality list also has stray citations, but not enough to bring the total up to 26.

Merging duplicates can also decrease the h-index

However, in this process I also noticed that one my most-cited publications – the book Managing the Multinationals – actually appears twice. It appears once with a subtitle and 160 citations and once without a subtitle and 37 citations, thus contributing to the h-index twice. Obviously, these two titles need to be merged, bringing us back to an h-index of 24.

Selective merge only takes a few minutes

Although this whole process sounds fairly involved, with a little practice it can actually be done in a couple of minutes, whereas a full merge of stray citations can easily take 15-20 minutes. Hence selective merging might be a good compromise.

Generic lessons for selective merging

This process has also taught us two important generic lessons for selective merging:

  • Publications with subtitles can often appear twice, once with and once without the subtitle, so it is worthwhile to check them.
  • Your most highly cited publications might appear in the h-index twice if the number of stray citations is large enough to enter as a separate publication.

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