We’re staying with the theme of managing your digital identity, but this week in the arena of academic publishing, rather than the open web. The digital medium has transformed the way that academic output is consumed; as well as the content of our publications, there is a wealth of metadata which can be more easily analysed to show quantitative impact and relationships between publications. Unlike a physical book or journal, a digital publication can be ‘shelved’ in a number of ‘places’ simultaneously, meaning that the way that it is tagged has changed, and has become of interest to researchers and research administrators as well as librarians and publishers. The relationships between publications can also be made visible, through analysis of citations, and this data can help to establish the impact of a particular author or publication (although in terms of research quality assessment, it is not considered sufficiently robust as a primary indicator of quality). Digital text is searchable, which means that there are now different ways to find relevant material, different ways to extract the content, different ways of ‘reading’. All this impacts on your digital identity, and although you can’t manage it as freely as on the open web, it is worth being aware of processes used by information and library science, publishing and research administration that impact on you (for example through research excellence assessment exercises as well as your own CV). We’ll be looking at three ways to render your academic digital identity more visible to yourself and others.
Google Scholar Profile and Citations
Google Scholar allows you the option to create a profile of yourself and your publications, and track publications which have cited you. The profile will also appear when others search for your name or work in Google Scholar. You can also use it to see publications by others, if they have signed up, and to follow their work and citations of their work.
- Go to Google Scholar. Click on My Citations in the top righthand corner.
- If you have a Google account already, sign in. If not, click on the ‘sign up’ button in the top righthand corner (this gives you access to a number of Google services, some of which we will be using in this programme).
- Your profile contains your name, institutional affiliation, research interests, and email address. You can choose to make your profile public, or keep it private, and add your university homepage if you wish. (You can only make your Google Scholar profile public if you use an .ac.uk email address to verify your academic status). Test your choice of research interest keywords by clicking on them and seeing if anyone else describes themselves in the same way.
- If you already have any, add your published articles using Google scholar (‘add’ in the drop-down menu) and have a look at the citation data. Alternatively, you could search for others in your field and, if they have a profile, look at their publications and citation data. You can choose to have your future publications added automatically, rather than adding them manually yourself, but there may be problems with this, and you’ll have to review and delete periodically.
- If you need them, there are more information and instructions on the About Google Scholar Citations and the Help page.
You may have noticed that Google Scholar can’t always tell if you’re you, or another scholar with a similar name. There is a risk that your body of work might not be clearly visible as such, that publications by others might be mixed in with your own if people are trying to see what you’ve written and get a sense of your record and areas of interest. In some cases, there are two scholars working in the same field with the same name, which has led to embarrassing conversations at conferences! Likewise, if you use variations of your name, for example, full name or initials, include your middle names, or change your name, it may not be clear that those publications all belong to the same person. ResearcherID is a scheme introduced by Thomson Reuters, who own Web of Science, to assign each researcher with a unique identifier (a Digital Object Identifier or DOI for authors instead of texts). Similar to Google Scholar profile, you set up a profile of your information, but can then link this unique profile to your own publications, including those not indexed in Web of Science. (Scopus, the citations database owned by Elsevier, have a similar scheme called Author Identifier, but this relies on an algorithm which analyses the publication metadata and offers authors a link to email feedback when they discover an error in their data.)
- Enter your name and email for a registration invite. Once this arrives, click on the link in the email to register.
- Fill in the information requested. Once you have done this and created your profile, you will notice that you have been issued your unique identifier. You can then add more information if you wish (there are tabs across the top of the screen to move between sections of your profile). Remember to decide if you want the information to be public or private.
- Now view your profile, and add your publications for you ‘My Publications’ list, using Web of Science to search. For future publications, you can add them direct from the Web of Science database when searching. You can also see your citation metrics.
- There is more information on the ResearcherID homepage and ResearcherID FAQ webpage if you need it.
Due to the unique identifier, your information and publications will remain associated with you, whether you change institution or your name. This is important to avoid confusion with other similarly named authors, as you’ll see from Google Scholar Citations but is particularly relevant for Early Career Researchers, whose link with a particular institution is temporary.
You should also be aware of ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID) which is being developed to overcome the same problem, working with the ResearcherID system, but unlike the Thomson Reuters- owned ResearcherID, is non-proprietary. The service will be live later this year.
Thompson Reuters are also developing a Book Citation Index, aimed at Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences research, although Cambridge University have not purchased the service.
Web of Science Citation maps
Web of Science has another feature which allows you to visualise citation data. Whether looking at one of your own publications or those of a other scholar, you can generate a citation map, both backwards in time (ie every publication that the paper has cited) and forwards (all the later publications that cite the paper). To do this, search for a paper in Web of Science, click on it to open its entry and click on the citation map button in the metadata. You can then follow up any of these references, or get an impression of the paper’s research foundations or later impact.You can also tag your papers with your ResearcherID from here.
Key skills: How easy to use and maintain did you find these profiles? Did you feel that the information you were asked to provide would help to raise your profile as an early career researcher, or find that the focus on you institutional affiliation (and email) was problematic, if your association with a university isn’t permanent? Were you happy with the privacy options? Did you find it was easy to characterise your research interests in Google Scholar profile in a meaningful way, or did the terms you chose result in not many others who described themselves in the same way? Were the profiles and citation maps meaningful ways of gathering and visualising citation data in your reading?
General: Bibliometrics grew largely out of scientific and technical literature, which has different norms; therefore bibliometric methods may not give an accurate picture of relationships between and importance of publications. Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences place more emphasis on publication formats which do not appear in the above databases, which do not take account of books, conference proceedings or chapters in edited books, only journal articles. Alternative publishing formats, such as conference posters, blogs, or audio-visual media (a podcast of a conference presentation) are not included either. Co-authoring is much rarer in the Humanities, and thus researchers do not have so many papers to their name. Moreover, the cultural practice of citation differs in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, where we might reference an article to take issue with it, rather than to build our own findings on it, or cite ‘old’ materials which would be considered out of date in science disciplines, but still have relevance in Humanities. It therefore takes longer than in the sciences for a publication to gain citations. How might you overcome or work around some of these issues? In terms of your own publications, are there any ‘games’ you might play to make this system work for you? Do you feel this is appropriate? Might a Book Citation Service work well for your discipline, or replicate issues with citation data in journal analysis?
Digital Humanities: Do you think that your reading practices will change, due to the other ways that are now available to consume digital text? Might new ways of visualising a field of research or school of thought help you to think about it in different ways? if you followed the Guardian Higher Education livechat last week, did you think that altmetrics poses a viable addition or alternative to traditional bibliometrics?
Evaluation: Do you think that the tools to create a profile of your publications (with a unique identifier or not) and visualise citation patterns will be helpful, or are they not attuned enough to the practices of a humanities scholar? Might they be helpful to you as an early career scholar, or actively unhelpful in what they measure and make visible? Did you find the coverage of the databases Web of Science and Google Scholar suitable for your work, or are the kinds of publications that you value not covered? The coverage of Google Scholar is not transparent, and each database (Scopus and Web of Science) has slightly different coverage, meaning that the citations information is not comparable.
Integration: Through these systems, the burden of creating an accurate research profile falls on the individual researcher rather than (as traditionally) the librarian or publisher. How easy will it be to maintain your own profile over time? Once launched, ORCID will give you the option to take responsibility for your profile yourself, or allow your institution to do so. Which would work best for you? Will analysing citation patterns change the process of reading and literature reviewing for you and how will you build them in, if you don’t habitually use Web of Science or Google Scholar?