Author disambiguation: Use research field

Publish or Perish tutorial

Note: This tutorial was originally written for Publish or Perish v4 and all screenshots come from this version. However, the information as such is also applicable for later versions of Publish or Perish.

We left Michelle Brown [see Exclude co-authors] with just over 200 publications, of which I know – since I am familiar with her publication record – about three quarters are not hers. So unless we are only interested in her h-index, this still leaves us with quite a lot of manual verification.

Use inclusions instead of exclusions

Hence another strategy is to start at the other end and work with inclusions rather than exclusions. For this we need the Publish or Perish General citation search function. This function has all of the fields that the author search has, but also provides the opportunity to enter keywords that either need to be included or excluded.

Extended example: enter two research fields

Michelle works in industrial relations and human resource management. So what happens if we simply include these two research fields in any of the words? Hey presto, this provides us with more than 95% of Michelle’s actual citations and provides a correct h-index.


Use "any of the words" rather than "all of the words"

Make sure you use any of the words not all of the words. Otherwise only articles that include both sets of words would be included.

Limitations of this strategy

Google Scholar is not a bibliometric database like the Web of Science or Scopus. Google Scholar only has fields for authors, title, source and year. It does not have dedicated fields for research area or affiliation. Hence, if you do a keyword search with research areas Google Scholar will match those anywhere in the document. This means that you might still get inappropriate results, if for instance the research area occurs in one of the references, even though the article is in another field.

All your queries are saved for future use

You do not need to enter these inclusions again every time you do the same search. All your searches are automatically saved in the multi-query center. I’ll tell you more about that in future tips, but you can take a peak now if you want. You will find all the queries you have ever run there.

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