Google’s Tools for Measuring the Impact of Your Research

Google ScholarLast month we looked at Web of Science as a way of determining who is citing your research.  In this post, I will tell you a little bit about using Google’s freely available tools, Google Scholar’s Citations and Metrics tools, to track who is citing your published work. While I wouldn’t recommend using these tools alone to track this information, they can be a good complement to the library tools we have mentioned in previous posts.

Google Scholar Citations

Hopefully you are already familiar with searching Google Scholar and know how to use OU Link to Article to retrieve the full-text of items within our e-resources. The “My Citations” tool makes Google Scholar a valuable resource for tracking citations to your publications, staying current on publications by your peers, and even allows you to create a public profile for those who search for your name within Google Scholar. If you do not already have an account with Google, you will need to set up an account to utilize these personalized features.

The help page within Google Scholar Citations will walk you through the specifics of setting up your profile and maintaining your list of publications. Once you’ve created your initial list, Google Scholar may update your list without your intervention, so pay attention to your publication list. Occasionally publications may be added to your profile by an author with the same name or initials, but those can easily be erased. I also noticed that a less than scholarly article I contributed to a state association’s newsletter was added to my list.  From its initial launch to now, one of the downfalls of Google Scholar has been that it is difficult to know what it is indexing and what it considers scholarly.  This may become even more apparent to you as you begin to use the tools to push content to yourself and use it to monitor citations to your research.  Again, this should be a complement to the information you gather in Web of Science, not a replacement for this tool.

Google Scholar Metrics

 Google Scholar Metrics  is a relatively new tool, having only launched in April 2012. Its stated purpose is to “provide an easy way for authors to quickly gauge the visibility and influence of recent articles in scholarly publications.” If you’d like to learn more about the strengths and weaknesses of this service, I’d recommend reading Emilio Delgado-Lopez-Cozar and Alvaro Cabezas-Clavijo’s assessment of service in their article, “Google Scholar Metrics: An Unreliable Tool for Assessing Scientific Journals.” The title does provide enough for you to know their overall assessment, but since the tool is new, it is possible that Google could address some of the weaknesses and make it a more viable tool.

Jeremy Hessman