Author disambiguation: Use full given name

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 version 5.

Another possibility to limit the number of false hits in Publish or Perish, is to include the author’s full given name, for instance “Carol Kulik”.

Limitation of this strategy: some journals only use initials

However, this excludes any publications in which the author’s given names are not spelled out in full. As journals in some fields (e.g. Operations Research) have a tendency to use initials only, for some academics this might miss many publications.

Limitation of this strategy: hyphenated names

This strategy is also likely to fail with authors with hyphenated names as these are more likely to be reproduced incorrectly. For instance “Anne-Wil Harzing” provides 500 fewer citations than “A Harzing”.

The best compromise

However, a strategy of using “initials + last name” combined with “given name + last name” might be useful if an author has mainly published with two or more initials, but has some publications with only one initial. For instance searching for “CT Kulik” OR “Carol Kulik” produces results that are identical to a broader search for “C Kulik” with a very large number of exclusions (e.g "CC Kulik" "CL Kulik" "CJ Kulik" "JC Kulik" "AC KUlik" "JA Kulik" “GC Kulik” “C** Kulik”).


My recommendation

In general though, I would recommend only using the author's given name:

  • as a last resort for authors with very common names,
  • as a very “quick-and-dirty” check to see whether a particular academic has published something.

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