5.3.5 Institutional searches

Theoretically, the General Citation Search could be used to compare institutional performance in particular fields. As noted above, however, Google Scholar does not have a bibliographic field for affiliation. This means that these searches are not likely to be very accurate as Google Scholar will match the name of the university anywhere in the document (including acknowledgements, main body and references).

In addition, year and field restrictions seem to have rather unpredictable results for institutional searches. Without further experimentation and testing, I would therefore not recommend the use of Publish or Perish for these purposes. The only exception would be very generic searches, such as to establish whether a particular university generates any academic papers at all. Therefore, at present the only way to use Publish or Perish and Google Scholar to measure institutional performance is to run searches for individual academics in a school, department, or faculty and aggregate the results.

Institutional search

However, in spite of these limitations, Google Scholar does seem to have some usefulness to find out whether there are any academics in a particular institution on a specific topic. This could be useful for instance for PhD students looking for a supervisor or for academics looking for an institution to visit on their sabbatical.

The screenshot above shows an example of such a search focusing on “supply chain management” in my own University, the University of Melbourne. In this type of search, it is generally best to sort the results by Google Scholar rank (by clicking on the rank column), rather than the standard sort for the number of citations. The latter privileges publications that have more citations, but these might be less relevant for the search in question.

Out of the first ten hits in the search, seven of the papers were indeed written by one or more authors affiliated with Melbourne, whilst number the book in the 9th place includes a chapter of a University of Melbourne academic. This search might therefore enable the student or academic to more easily identify relevant individuals in a particular university. However, it should be combined with other search strategies, such as perusing university web sites, for the best results.