Journal search: Exclude by ISSN(2)

Publish or Perish tutorial

Note: The instructions below only refer to Google Scholar journal searches; other data sources do not suffer from the same problems.

Journal titles that include very common words present additional difficulties.

Google Scholar matches "published in" for both the publication and publisher field

The Publish or Perish journal impact analysis uses the Google Scholar Advanced query "return articles published in". Google Scholar interprets this query broadly and returns matches for both the publication and the publisher.

Generic journal title leads to many false matches

This means that a search for a relatively generic journal title such as Information Systems Research might get additional matches in the publisher field, such as Center for Information Systems Research. It will even report results for the eventual co-sponsor/co-publisher of MIS Quarterly (Management Information Systems Research Center, University of Minnesota), even though this is not directly visible in the Google Scholar output.

More results for another journal than for the target journal

As a result, most hits for a citation analysis for the journal Information Systems Research would be papers published in MIS Quarterly. Papers in this journal on average tend to be more highly cited than papers in Information Systems Research and hence end up more highly in the search ranking.

Excludes these words cannot be safely used

Including MIS Quarterly in the Exclude these words field is not an option, because Google Scholar matches the exclusion words anywhere in the paper. This would therefore also exclude any papers in Information Systems Research that are available full text and merely refer to papers published in MIS, a not unlikely occurrence.

Two strategies to get accurate results

One of the two following strategies is recommended to calculate the citation impact in this and similar cases:

Strategy 1: manual exclusions

  1. Search for Information Systems Research without any exclusions.
  2. Sort the results by Publication.
  3. Unselect all papers.
  4. Manually select all papers published in Information Systems Research and click Check selection.

This is probably the fastest option, but might not provide completely accurate results if there are a lot of false hits. Since Google Scholar limits the total number of results to 1000, the false hits might suppress some papers of the journal of interest that are not as highly cited. This is most likely to be a problem in disciplines where papers are generally highly cited (e.g. medicine), but it might make a difference for other fields as well.

Strategy 2: excluding by ISSN

The second strategy safely eliminates false hits and provides a more accurate result:

  1. Search for Information Systems Research, but include the ISSN of MIS Quarterly (0276-7783) in the Exclude these words field. This prevents Google Scholar from excluding all ISR papers that include a MISQ reference in their list of references, but still excludes the many MIS Quarterly hits.
  2. Additional exclusions are possible, as long as they are unique enough to not be likely to appear anywhere in papers published in ISR.
  3. Sort the results by Publication.
  4. Unselect all papers.
  5. Manually select all papers published in Information Systems Research and click Check selection.

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