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Publish or perish

Instead of the Thomson ISI Web of Science, Publish or Perish uses Google Scholar data to calculate various statistics. An important practical reason for this is that Google Scholar is freely available to anyone with an Internet connection and is generally praised for its speed (Bosman et al. 2006). The Web of Science is only available to those academics whose institutions are able and willing to bear the (quite substantial) subscription costs of the Web of Science and other databases in Thomson ISI’s Web of Knowledge.

Publish or Perish is a software program that retrieves and analyzes academic citations. It uses Google Scholar to obtain the raw citations, then analyzes these and presents the following statistics (a.o.):

•Total number of papers

•Total number of citations

•Average number of citations per paper

•Average number of citations per author

•Average number of papers per author

•Average number of citations per year

•Hirsch's h-index and related parametersc

The results are available on-screen and can also be copied to the Windows clipboard (for pasting into other applications) or saved to a variety of output formats (for future reference or further analysis). Publish or Perish includes a detailed help file with search tips and additional information about the citation metrics. Anne-Wil Harzing welcomes user feedback to help her improve the program. Publish or Perish is designed to empower individual academics to present their case for research impact to its best advantage. If an academic shows weak citation metrics, this may be caused by a lack of impact on the field, but also by one or more of the following:

•Working in a small field (therefore generating fewer citations in total);

•Publishing in a language other than English (effectively also restricting the citation field);

•Publishing mainly (in) books.

Although Google Scholar performs better than the Web of Science in this respect, it is still not very good in capturing articles and citations, or citations in books or book chapters. As a result, citation metrics in the Social Sciences and even more so in the Humanities will always be underestimated. Although for reasons discussed in detail in Google Scholar - a new data source for citation analysis the use of Google Scholar generally provides a higher citation count than ISI, this might not be true for all fields of studies.

•The Social sciences, Arts and Humanities, and engineering in particular seem to benefit from Google Scholar's better coverage of (citations in) books, conference proceedings and a wider range of journals.

•The Natural and Health Sciences are generally well covered in ISI and hence Google Scholar might not always provide higher citation counts. In addition, for some disciplines in the Natural and Health Sciences Google Scholar's journal coverage seems to be patchy. This leads to citation counts in these areas that might even be much lower than those in ISI.

As a general rule of thumb, we would suggest that using Google Scholar might be most beneficial for three of the Google Scholar categories:

a.Business, Administration, Finance & Economics;

b.Engineering, Computer Science & Mathematics;

c.Social Sciences, Arts & Humanities.

To get started with Publish or Perish, you can download and install the programme here, it only takes a minute!