9.1 Treat Google Scholar as a serious alternative data source

Many university administrators are fairly conservative in their approach to citation analysis. It is not unusual to see them prefer ISI as “the gold standard” and discard Google Scholar out of hand, simply because they have heard some wild-west stories about its “overly generous” coverage. These stories are typically based one or more of the following misconceptions.

First, the impression that everything on the web citing an academics work counts as a citation. Second, the assumption that any publication that is not listed in ISI is not worth considering at all. Third, a general impression that Google Scholar citation counts are completely unreliable. Below, I will show that all of these impressions are misconceptions.