Author disambiguation: Use affiliation

Publish or Perish tutorial

Note: This tutorial was originally written for Publish or Perish v4 and all screenshots come from this version. However, the information as such is also applicable for later versions of Publish or Perish.

As an alternative to research fields [Use research fields], you could also try university affiliations to disambiguate your own publication record from namesakes in Publish or Perish. This is particularly effective if you have only worked in a limited number of places.

Extended example: Prakash Singh

For instance, another of my former colleagues at Melbourne – Prakash Singh – is also a nightmare to search for as both Prakash and Singh are very common names for ethnic Indians. “P Singh” and “Prakash Singh” both provide more than 1,000 results, even though my colleague only has about 70-80 publications.

Fortunately, he had published most of his work as “PJ Singh”, but even that search provided more than 400 results and missed a couple of his publications as “Prakash Singh”. So the solution was to use the General citation search for “PJ Singh” OR “Prakash Singh”, but restricting it by university affiliation, as I knew Prakash had only published with two affiliations: “University of Melbourne” and “Monash University”.


Further fine-tuning the search

This search indeed provided more than 95% of his citations, but missed one publication with 46 citations that would have increased his h-index by 1. However, when I added “supply chain” (his main research area) as another keyword this publication appeared. This did introduce a couple of publications by “S Prakash Singh”, “SP Singh” and “RP Singh”; hence these names were entered in “none of the words”. We also included the word “hip” to remove a couple of lowly cited publications by another “PJ Singh”, although they did not influence the metrics much.

The result (see above) was a very comprehensive list of Prakash’s publications with only three inclusions and four exclusions. Make sure you use any of the words not all of the words. Otherwise only articles that include both sets of words would be included.

Limitations of this strategy

Obviously you do need to know a little bit about the person you are searching for in order to be able to come up with smart inclusions. However, if you are searching for your own name, that should not be a problem. Google Scholar is not a bibliometric database like the Web of Science or Scopus. Google Scholar only has fields for authors, title, source and year. It does not have dedicated fields for research area or affiliation. Hence, if you do a keyword search with affiliation Google Scholar will match this anywhere in the document. This means that you might still get inappropriate results, where for instance the affiliation occurs in one of the references even though the academic has no connection with it.

All your queries are saved for future use

You do not need to enter these inclusions and exclusions again every time you do the same search. All your searches are automatically saved in the multi-query center. I’ll tell you more about that in future tips, but you can take a peak now if you want. You will find all the queries you have ever run there.

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.