Google scholar metrics
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Google scholar metrics is a way to track the scholarly publications of academics, clinicians and researchers. The metrics are bibliometric tools that calculate the H-index for scientific journals and other information sources. However, do not confuse Google scholar metrics with Google Scholar "Citations" as they are different but complementary projects. To get started, you can browse the top 100 publications in several languages, ordered by their five-year h-index and h-median metrics. To see which articles in a publication were cited the most and who cited them, click on its h-index number to view the articles as well as the citations underlying the metrics.
What is Google scholar citations?
Google scholar citations is a profile made available to authors through Google scholar that allows authors to track citations to their work. This profile can be made publicly available or kept private to be accessed only by the author. If an author chooses to make their profile public, it will appear in Google Scholar search results. In addition to citations to one's work, Google Scholar calculates metrics such as the h-index, i10-index, the total numbers of citations to an author, and displays them on each profile (James Conner, Google scholar blog, 2011).
More on metrics with GS
Many researchers are familiar with the most-often consulted and esteemed journals in their field but may not follow newer publications. Google scholar metrics' summarizes recent citations to publications and helps authors to discover new ideas about where to publish their research. GSM has its critics. Delgado et al (2012) said that "... despite Google Scholar’s value as a source for scientific assessment, GSM is an immature product with many shortcomings ... and we advise against its use for evaluation purposes...". GSM can be used by scholars and librarians with Google scholar citations to provide evaluators with a free research evaluation service. Incites, research analytics by Thomson Reuters, and SciVal, a visualization tool by Elsevier, are two proprietary competitors in the research evaluation space. Microsoft provides a similar tool entitled Microsoft Academic Search. To address the problem with name ambiguation, the Open Researcher & Contributor ID (ORCID) project aims to resolve name authority issues by creating a registry of persistent unique identifiers for individual researchers. In addition to addressing the problem with name variants, ORCID is seeking to provide an open and transparent linking mechanism between ORCID, other ID schemes, and research objects such as publications, grants, and patents. This is the type of project that would certainly help Google scholar as it would provide persistent identity numbers — "author DOIs" — similar to the digital object identifier (DOI).
Microsoft's Academic Search
Microsoft Academic Search provide a way for scholars to track their papers and to connect with others in their discipline. In Academic search, see who is citing you and your publications, how your citations are graphed over time and computed using citation metrics. When making your profile public, others see what you are working on and, theoretically at least, provide a way to find collaborators. Microsoft's Academic Search has been around since 2011 or earlier. This is interesting given that Microsoft had announced only the year before that it was retiring the project. Since 2004, Google scholar has been trying to improve its presentation and listing of results - and has come a long way. The inclusion of legal materials and patents has been a boon for lawyers and law librarians. However, its lack of transparency in its indexing practices and coverage make it difficult to use with confidence. As a browsing tool, it is acceptable but not so much for performing structured evaluation.
A lot of the evaluative research of these tools suggests that they are not yet ready to be used reliably for promotion, tenure and hiring practices. With GS, the problem is the lack of curation and normalization of the database. With MS Academic search the emphasis is on beta and it is still unclear what publications it covers and its currency.