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July 21st, 2011:

Google Author Profiles

I was very excited to read in my twitter feed this morning that google has launched a new service that lets researchers automatically aggregate data on all the papers they’ve published and how often those papers are cited. With a click of a button you can opt in to sharing that data with the world (or at least anyone who searches for your name in google scholar).

Since we’re always told its important to judge the quality of researchers by the impact of their papers (presumably measured by citations or more advanced metrics like the H-index) rather than the impact factor of the journals their papers are published in, I think this represents a big step forward for three reasons:

  • Unlike other services that do sort of similar things. Google Scholar profiles are free and visible to anyone (once you opt in).
  • The service automatically updates as newly published papers cite your previous work, and as you publish new papers yourself (no need to remember to visit your page and manually enter each new paper). People who have browsed faculty profiles on university websites and realized the professor hasn’t remembered to update their list of new publications in five years or more will appreciate now important a feature this is!
  • It’s surprisingly accurate! The only corrections I had to make to my profile were condensing two duplicates of existing papers which were listed with slightly different titles or author lists on different websites. Google scholar didn’t miss a single one of my papers, nor did it include any of the papers published by other people what shared my name back in the 20th century, like so many other searches have.
If you’re a working or former scientist I urge you to claim your own profile and display it to the world.
I suppose this means I should throw up a link to my own profile (only a few hours old). Yes, my H-index is only 2, but please keep in mind I started grad school just under three years ago.