12.1 Doing bibliometric research for authors

Ever since 2006 when Publish or Perish was first made available, users have started to compare themselves with other academics. Numerous blogs have published ad-hoc rankings of academics in particular fields. Creating your own reference group is also a strategy that I have specifically recommended in Chapter 7 on “Making your case for tenure or promotion”.

However, some academics want to go further than this and are keen to conduct more systematic research on the comparative research impact of academics. This kind of research has been conducted for many decades and had filled the pages of journals such as Scientometrics and Journal of the Society for Information Science and Technology. The data source for these analyses was almost invariably ISI's Web of Science/Web of Knowledge. The availability of Google Scholar and Publish or Perish now makes a more comprehensive comparison of research impact for authors possible.

Most of the tools and information you need to conduct bibliometric research on authors have been discussed in other chapters. Chapter 1 provides you with a discussion of the range of citation metrics that can be used. Chapter 3 shows you how to conduct author searches effectively and accurately. Chapter 6 explains how to manage your queries in an effective way in the Multi-query center. The most important questions in conducting bibliometric research for authors are what is going to be the population you are studying and which metrics to use to compare academics in your population.