The Crux of Google Scholar Accounts

What’s wrong with a Google Scholar account? Everybody loves it, right? Years ago, I had created one (it needs just a Google account) and cleaned it from unrelated (as scientists with my last name and initials are plenty) articles. It neatly lists all my publications (in the order of highest to lowest quotations).  It tells me (and others who might be interested in my work) the number of quotations and the number of recent quotations. It calculates my h-index and several other more or less informative metrics. And it alerts me of recent quotations, so I can easily check who quoted me and in which context.

Google Scholar’s algorithm doesn’t consider a “core collection” as Web of Science of Clarivate Analytics does. That means that Google Scholar also regards quotations in articles published in questionable open access journals, cites in doctoral or master theses (but, as far as I know, not books). And also quotes of books. In my opinion, a quotation is a quotation and if correct, it’s okay.

On the other hand, apart from ignoring many scholarly journals, Web of Science has other shortcomings. Several times I had to contact them to add one of my more highly cited papers which was not reported or underreported. I noticed the missing paper only when I saw it’s more than average performance in Google Scholar. Another paper, that was published in a journal which only later was added to Web of Science’s core collection, is still missing. Because it was published before Clarivate Analytics added it, I was told. This is also the reason why my h-index differs so much in Google Scholar and Web of Science. Elsevier’s Scopus may not even cover papers published before 1995. And, both Web of Science and Scopus need subscription.

So, a free Google Scholar account isn’t too bad. As it is supposed to be curated by the author in question, it may serve as a valuable source for each and every scientist to get a quick overview of publications and quotations of colleagues. That is, their scientific impact.

But where is light, there’s also shadow. When editing the account, one may enter up to five key words for the fields one has actively published in. So, check, for instance, “periodontology“. As expected, my peers are showing (of course, I cannot compete with most). But who is Dr. Anamika Sharma? Well, Dr. Sharma apparently doesn’t clean up her account. As Sharma is a frequent last name in India, and the initial “A” as well, she ends up with an alleged number of total citations of 31025 and an h-index of 75. I have contacted her and asked to correct the records and remove false feathers but Dr. Sharma did not respond.

9 September 2017 @ 11: 14 am.

Last modified September 9, 2017.




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