Accuracy: PoP vs GS for journals

Publish or Perish tutorial

Note: This tutorial was originally written for Publish or Perish version 4 and all screenshots come from this version. However, the information as such is also applicable for later versions of Publish or Perish.

Contrary to what some users think, PoP does not give results that are different from Google Scholar! Publish or Perish is as accurate or as inaccurate as Google Scholar itself.

Advanced search vs. standard search

If the Publish or Perish results differ from the ones you get by using Google Scholar directly, this is typically caused by the fact that Publish or Perish uses the Advanced Scholar Search capabilities of Google Scholar, whereas your manual search probably used the standard Google Scholar search.

The latter is equivalent to an All of the words search, which matches the search terms anywhere in the searched documents (author, title, source, abstract, references etc.) and usually provides too many irrelevant results for an effective citation analysis.

Worked example: standard search vs. journal search

If you would for instance search for Journal of International Business Studies using the standard Google Scholar search (i.e. all of the words) rather than the journal search, many of your highly cited results would not refer to this journal (see screenshot).


General search matches search terms anywhere in the document

This search matches “Journal of International Business Studies” anywhere in the document, including articles published in other journals that are available full-text in Google Scholar and that cite articles in Journal of International Business Studies. As a result you will get many highly cited articles referring to articles in Journal of International Business Studies, rather than published in Journal of International Business Studies.

Google scholar rank differs from citation rank

This is also illustrated by the difference in citation rank and Google Scholar rank for these articles. These articles in other journals are highly cited (hence highly ranked on citations), but not very relevant to the search (hence low-ranked on the Google Scholar rank).

Want to replicate standard Google Scholar search in Publish or Perish?

If you really do want to get the same results in Publish or Perish as with a standard Google Scholar search, do the following.

  1. Go to the General citation search page.
  2. Empty all text fields except All of the words.
  3. Enter your query terms in the All of the words field.
  4. Set the Year of publication fields both to 0.
  5. Clear the Title words only field.
  6. Click on Lookup.
  7. When the results appear, click on the Rank column header to sort the results in the order in which Google Scholar returned them.

Support Publish or Perish

The development of the Publish or Perish software is a volunteering effort that has been ongoing since 2006. Download and use of Publish or Perish is and will remain free (gratis), but your support toward the costs of hosting, bandwidth, and software development are appreciated. Your support helps further development of Publish or Perish for new data sources and additional features.


PS: If you are using Publish or Perish on a regular basis, please take 5 minutes to provide me with some feedback.