Tag Archives: citations

Promoting your research using Google Scholar for your own citations

Google Scholar

My Citations is a  feature which provides a simple way for authors to keep track of citations to their articles. You can check who is citing your publications, create graphs of your citations over time, and compute several citation metrics. You can also make your profile public, so that it appears in Google Scholar results when people search for your name .

"Bibliography" by Alexandre Duret-Lutz. C BY-SA. Flickr.
“Bibliography” by Alexandre Duret-Lutz. C BY-SA. Flickr.

It is very quick to set up and simple to maintain – even if you have written hundreds of articles, and even if your name is shared by several different scholars. You can add groups of related articles, not just one article at a time; and your citation metrics are computed and updated automatically as Google Scholar finds new citations to your work on the web. You can even choose to have your list of articles updated automatically – but you can also choose to review the updates yourself, or to manually update your articles at any time.

First, create a regular Google account, or sign in to the one you already have. It is a good idea to use a personal account, not your university account, so that you can keep your profile for as long as you wish, even if you change jobs.

1. Once you’ve signed in to your Google account go to Google Scholar, select the link to My Citations. There are three stages to complete.

The Citations sign up form will ask you to confirm the spelling of your name, and to enter your affiliation, interests, etc. We recommend that you also enter your university email address, because that would make your profile eligible for inclusion in Google Scholar search results.


2. On the next page, you’ll see groups of articles written by people with names similar to yours.
Click “Add all articles” next to each article group that is yours, or “See all articles” to add specific articles from that group. I
f you don’t see your articles in these groups, click “Search articles” to do a regular Google Scholar search, and then add your articles one at a time.
3. Once you’re finished adding articles, you will be asked what to do when the article data changes in Google Scholar. You can either have the updates applied to your profile automatically, or you can choose to review them beforehand. In either case, you can always go to your profile and make changes by hand.
Finally, you will see your profile. This is a good time to make a few finishing touches – upload your professional looking photo, visit your email inbox and click on the verification link, double check the list of articles, and, once you’re completely satisfied, make your profile public.
5. Once your profile is public you can be searched for by name. Your profile will display the articles which have been collected by Google Scholar, the number of citations they have received (citations indices), and a map of your H-index.

You can also search for others by name, or by name of institution or place in the My citations screen: (NB note also the My Citations – Help feature). Run a search on ‘Royal Holloway’ (or any other institution) and see who else has registered on My Citations.

If you notice some of your articles are not in your Google Citations profile, you can sign in to your Citations profile, and select ‘Add” option from the pull down Actions menu. Search for your articles using titles, keywords, or your name. To add one article at a time, click ‘Search articles’ and then ‘Add article’ next to the article you wish to add. Your citation metrics will update immediately.

If your search doesn’t find the right article, click ‘Add Article manually’. Then, type in the title, authors etc and click ‘Save. (NB Citations to manually added articles may not appear in your profile for a while).


Who edits Wikipedia?

Wikipedia edits have been in the news this week…

But how easy is it to change what’s said on Wikipedia, and can we trust it?

Wikipedia can be edited by anyone, and this is part of what makes the site so brilliant: information from all over the world is being added all the time on all subjects. This is so much more comprehensive and efficient than a traditional print encyclopaedia in which a small group of editors can work for months and months to complete a book which may well be out of date by the time it goes to print! Wikipedia is current; as something changes in the real world, any one of us can log onto Wikipedia and make a note of it for all the world to see.

But did you know that Wikipedia has a pretty stringent editorial policy? Yes, you can make a change, but as anyone else in the world can change it again, there have to be some rules in place to make sure that it’s not chaos!

There are lots of guidelines that any edit must meet, and there must be a consensus of editors. Wikipedia encourage discussion of all edits, but especially major ones:

“Behind the scenes of Wikipedia articles, there is a large community of volunteer editors working to build the encyclopedia. It is not uncommon for editors to disagree about the way forward. That is when discussion and an attempt at reaching consensus should take place. Every article on Wikipedia has a talk page, reached by clicking the Talk tab just above the title (for example,Talk:Alexander the Great). There, editors can discuss improvements to the content of an article.”
(See: Discussion and Consensus)

Click on the ‘View History‘ page of any article to see the changes (and associated comments) that have taken place.

Occasionally arguments, or Edit Wars, break out between Wikipedia editors (and have even been the cause of academic studies…) Information is Beautiful have a nice visual of some of the most heartily fought battles.

So how can you tell who wrote what?

Listen to the Today programme on Radio 4 (skip to 1 hour 22mins) discussing the allegations made against Grant Shapps – it’s harder than it seems to work out who wrote what on Wikipedia.

And this uncertainty can be it’s downfall. It’s the reason Wikipedia isn’t considered a reliable source of information – the person editing the page on nuclear physics could be a world leading researcher, but they might not be. And they could at any time have their edits crossed out by another editor.

But there is a way you can try to make sense of the edits, and in doing so boost your own research. Plenty of us go straight to Wikipedia for an overview of a subject we know nothing about – but not many of us at all use the reference list at the bottom of each page.

Did you notice all these in-text references in Wikipedia articles?

wikipedia footnotes

Hover over them and they open up a window to an source.

wikipedia reference

You can click on these links and read the news, or academic article that the information came from. If the link asks you to pay for access, go straight to LibrarySearch and look for the title – you may find that Royal Holloway Library has paid for access to the article another way, and you can go ahead and read it! If not, there are ways to get hold of useful articles and books.

It is good academic practice to make use of references – perhaps the quotation on Wikipedia was taken out of context, or perhaps it’s the perfect article to use to support your essay. You can’t tell who wrote the article, but if they’ve provided supporting evidence, read that to see if it is valid!

How do you know if it’s valid? Think about these factors.

So, to conclude: Wikipedia is a good source of background and general information, but it’s more difficult to determine the quality of the information – so  make use of references provided, and if there are none: find them!

Tools for finding Impact Factors

  • Journal Citation Reports via Web of Knowledge.

This is the key standard for Impact Factor data.  Available at RHUL: http://eresources.rhul.ac.uk/kb/JCR

Download the application from the website – you should be able to install it on your PC.  It uses data from Google Scholar, so it picks up titles not included in JCR, such as reports and other non peer-reviewed materials.  The results are therefore widely different from JCR and should not be directly compared.

Data is still being developed as this service is quite new.  It’s more about the number of author citations than about journal impact factors.

  • Scopus

Good subject coverage, but uses a different way of calculating impact factors from JCR so it is not possible to compare between the two. Available at RHUL: http://eresources.rhul.ac.uk/kb/Scopus

Takes data directly from JCR, but doesn’t usually include the most recent report data.