Monday, December 26, 2011

Comparing Author Citation Profile Services

There are now three leading services that provide author citation profiles online. I recently discussed the most recent entrant, Google Scholar Citations. The other two are Researcher ID (from the Web of Science) and Scopus Author Details. There are considerable differences between these services:

Google Scholar and Researcher ID require you to set up your profile yourself while Scopus does this for everyone automatically. To do this on Researcher ID you need to search for your publications on the Web of Science and so you will only add those that really belong to you. The profile does not update automatically and so there will be no noise from publications that don't belong to you but it will become out of date if you don't update it. Scopus profiles are usually very noisy unless your name is unique and there may be multiple profiles for the same author. You can request changes online but as the profile updates automatically noise is likely to be added again if your name is common. Google Scholar will suggest groups of articles that might be yours and you can search for missing articles and you can then self edit the profile. But because the profile updates automatically noise is likely to be added again. Google allows editing of the details of entries - you can correct titles, dates of publication etc. Scopus and Researcher ID only allow addition or deletion of articles as a whole. Automatic updating is really nice but it is noisy is the bottom line, especially if your name is something like S Liu.

Scopus profiles are not available publicly - only to other Scopus users which is a big downside for you as a researcher but because they are created automatically they are often my first place to look at a profile of someone. Researcher ID and Google Scholar profiles are still both rare in most fields. CSIRO requires staff to have a Researcher ID profile. I've also noted that in dinosaur paleontology several people have been able to list up to ten coauthors on their Google Scholar profile but this won't be common yet in other fields.

All three services allow you to sort the results by date or times cited. Google Scholar and Researcher ID also allow sorting by title.

The other features in the table are functions of the databases themselves. Google Scholar has the widest coverage of different types of publications. Scopus does include citations to books in the journals it covers but the author details does not. Google Scholar is limited by only looking for citations in materials that are online which does tend to favor recent citations. Do you really think that Einstein's citations increased by so much in recent years?* Scopus only has citations from post 1996 documents. The Web of Science has citations from documents going back to 1945 (if your institution subscribes that far back).

Bottom line is that Google is the most user friendly service but quite "noisy" and so far limited in who is covered. Researcher ID has the lowest noise level and is fairly user friendly. Scopus is noisy, non-public, and not very user friendly, but has the broadest coverage of researchers.

* If you think that Einstein has a lot of citations check out Pierre Bourdieu!

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