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Google Scholar Profiles: recommendations

In her blog for scholars, Anne-Wil Harzing (Professor of International Management at Middlesex University, London) writes that Google Scholar (GS) Profile is your academic business card, it is the quickest and easiest way for other academics to see all your publications at one glance. If you have a common name it is also the only sure fire way to disambiguate your publication record from that of your namesakes. Just make sure that, once you have created your profile, you click the box «Make my profile public». Otherwise you will be the only one who is able to see it, which defeats the whole purpose of creating a profile in the first place.

A great solution for «stray» citations

Creating a GS profile is also a great solution for one of the biggest annoyances in citation analysis: the presence of «stray» citations. Stray citations are not the same as multiple identical web versions of the same paper; Google Scholar normally aggregates those under one master record. What I mean with «stray citations» are records that have not been aggregated under their master record. These 2nd (and sometimes 3rd and further) versions of the record typically only have a small number of citations each and are generally the result of misspelling of an author’s name, the title of the publication or the journal. They can also be caused by Google Scholar parsing errors.

Stray citations tend to be particularly common for «non-traditional» publications, such as software, books, book chapters, and conference papers as there is generally no standardised way to reference them. It is therefore much harder for Google Scholar to figure out whether they do refer to the same publication. Any records in your GS Profile that contain merged citations are shown with a * behind the citations. You can merge strays by logging into your profile, checking the box in front of the records you want to merge, and clicking merge.

Badly polluted profiles

As it is you (not Google Scholar) who is creating this profile, it is you who needs to maintain it and keep it up-to-date. This is not Google Scholar's responsibility. However, many academics only take a few minutes to create their profile, don’t look at any of the options and thus don't realise the default option is adding new articles automatically. That's not entirely surprising as Google Scholar doesn't make it very obvious how to change this. But it actually is very easy to do. Just login to your profile and click on the little cross you see in the title bar.

Click on «Configure article updates». Then on the next page, click the second option.

Don't «fall» for the Google Scholar «recommended» option. As is common with these type of services, recommended options cater for lazy and forgetful people. You might think it will save you time as you do not have to confirm updates every time, but be realistic: how many articles do you publish a year? Most of us do not publish so much that logging in, after an email promp with a link, to approve legitimate additions becomes a burden. It takes all of 30 seconds. It is also a great opportunity to manually correct or supplement anything that GS got wrong by editing the record in question.

GS Profiles and ORCID

If you’d like to have a comprehensive list of your own publications, e.g. for copying into your CV, a website, or a funding application, you can export your publications by clicking on the box to the left of title. This makes the export option visible.

If you export your publications to BibTex you can also import your full list of publications into your ORCID profile within seconds.




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