13.2.3 Google processing occasionally creates nonsensical results

Google Scholar's processing is done automatically without manual cleaning and hence sometimes provides nonsensical results. For instance there are a range of results for my name where the title starts with K., my last initial (see screenshot).

This generally happened because of one of two reasons. First, some referring authors accidentally put a comma after the first two initials, leading Google Scholar parsing to think the title started with the third initial. Second, referring authors often listed my first two initials as A.-W. (which is actually entirely correct) and then included a large white space before the third initial, again leading Google Scholar parser to think that the author name had finished and the title started with “K.”

Anne-Wil K

Most of these errors, however, have little impact on robust citation metrics such as the h-index. As can be seen above, three of the errors only have 2 citations each and they all refer to publications that were already included in my h-index. With 17 citations, the third seems more serious, but this is one of my most cited works and adding the 17 citations does not impact on the h-index, g-index or any of their variations.

Automatic processing can also result in double counting citations when two or three versions of the same paper are found online. Again though, incidental mistakes like this are unlikely to have a major impact on citation metrics, especially those as robust as the h-index. Moreover, Google Scholar is committed to fix mistakes, and will respond (although often slowly) to change requests.