Saturday, February 25, 2012

Using Google's "My citations" to see who is talking about your work

As an academic I earn brownie points if people cite my work in their own publications. But it can be very difficult to see who is saying what about my work, so I use a number of strategies to monitor how my research is being used. There are a number of tools and databases that you can use to do this such as the Thomson ISI Web of Science, but many of them are difficult to access unless you work for a university or are a student. So the tool I recommend to people like me who have to do this sort of monitoring is My Citations, which is part of Google Scholar.

'My Citations' allows me to see how many times I have been cited, where and when. I have found this to be as effective as the university-based software programs if not more successful.  So, for example, an article I wrote in 2003 about using the internet for survey research has been cited eight times, in articles ranging from the use of the internet by students to the attitudes of never married black women....which is quite fascinating.

You could say that a disadvantage of My Citations and Google Scholar is that also picks up non-academic publications but I think that is a good thing because you can give evidence that your work has a wide reach and applicability. Another disadvantage is that it will miss citations in journals that are not accessed by Google Scholar. I have also found that My Citations is not picking up my blog posts that are being referenced in academic journals.

For more information and a very good comparison of Google Scholar and the Thomson ISI Web of Science, have a look at this article by Professor Anne-Wil Harzing: Google Scholar - a new data source for citation analysis. She has also written an article about Publish or Perish, which is another program for checking citations.

Have you used My Citations and Google Scholar? How have you got on with it?


Carolyn Hastie said...

Hi Sarah, this post was very useful to me for a couple of reasons. I'd never thought about whether my work was cited or not and so ran through the site as you suggested and was pleasantly surprised. So it's good to see that what we put 'out there' is useful to people. Thanks for this post, I'll monitor this now and see what happens in the future. I'll also check out the article you suggested and look at the other means of finding citations - Thompson's I think you said. All new to me :) Thanks again. Cheers, Carolyn Hastie

Sheena said...

Hi Sarah,

This is a great post, thanks so much I have had a good look and been surprised! I'll pass it on...:)

Sarah Stewart said...

@Carolyn As a senior lecturer you'll have to do these sorts of checks frequently, especially when you go for promotion. Tedious I know, but all part of the game when you work for a university. I am having to go through this process at the moment - the more citations and such like, the more research funding I will attract to my organisation.

@Sheena Glad this is of some help. I find it fascinating to find out where my work ends up.