Friday, November 18, 2011

Google Scholar Citations

Google has just launched a useful tool for academics: Google Scholar Citations. This is a service on top of Google Scholar that allows you to track the number of citations each of your publications has received. One of the metrics by which academics are judged is the number of citations their publications have received, the theory being that good and useful papers will be cited more than papers that are not useful, or good. This has been encapsulated by measures such as the h-index: to have an h-index of n, you must have at least n-papers that have been cited at least n-times each. It is useful for things like grant applications to be able to quote the number of citations you have received and your current h-index, insofar as convincing the grants committees that you can do the work you propose.

It was possible to track citations with Google Scholar in the past, and to calculate your h-index manually, but this could be a bit laborious and error-prone: Scholar Citations makes it a lot easier. I was impressed to see that even with a common name like mine (there are a lot of Michael Watts in the world, and some of them are also academics) the software found almost all of my publications - there are a few that aren't available online yet - and to find the citations to them. I was quite pleased to find that I had a few more citations than I thought.