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UBC Professor: Google Scholar On Par With Science Citation Index For Performing Citation Counts

.: From an article in the March 2006 issue of University Affairs / Affaires universitaires, "Canada's magazine on higher education," titled Google Scholar service matches Thomson ISI citation index, by Léo Charbonneau. Excerpt:

The free Google Scholar service does as good a job as Thomson ISI’s science citation index for performing citation counts and could be used as a cheap substitute to the costly Thomson service, says a University of British Columbia professor. Thomson’s citation databases are accessible through the company’s Web of Science portal only by subscription, which can cost a university tens of thousands of dollars a year.

Daniel Pauly, director of the Fisheries Centre at UBC, and Konstantinos Stergiou, of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece, compared the two methods using 114 papers from 11 disciplines published between 1925 and 2004. For papers published before 1990, the authors found that the citation counts were proportional. In other words, if Thomson ISI found that a particular paper was cited 10 times as often as another, Google Scholar found the same ratio. However, for these older papers, the actual citation counts with Google were about half that of Thomson.

Charbonneau notes that the results of the study by Pauly and Stergiou were published in a recent issue of the onine journal, Ethics in Science and Environmental Politics 2005:33-35. The "note" is titled, Equivalence of results from two citation analyses: Thomson's ISI Citation Index and Google's Scholar service. The previous link is to the .pdf file, which as far as I can tell, should be open access.

According to the article, Pauly disagrees with University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa LIS professor Péter Jacsó's assessment of Google Scholar in his article, As we may search – Comparison of major features of the Web of Science, Scopus, and Google Scholar citation-based and citation-enhanced databases, (.pdf file, may require subscription) published in Current Science, v83 n9, 10 November 2005. Jacsó wrote two other assessments of Google Scholar for his column, Péter's Digital Reference Shelf: Google Scholar Beta (Dec 2004), and Google Scholar Redux (June 2005).

I have to confess, I have never made the time to compare these resources, along with Scopus. When do we have the time to do this? I am grateful that reports and studies such as the aforementioned ones come to our attention, but even finding time to read and digest them is difficult. I work with researchers from first-year to post-doc and faculty, and find that after an hour's in-depth one-on-one consulting with a post-graduate student or researcher, it is all they can do to absorb one or two dbs of critical interest to them.

So I wonder, am I not doing my job to the best of my abilities if I don't keep up with these types of analyses? We have Scopus and Web of Science, and we all have access to Google Scholar. How many of you are using more than one of these on a regular basis? At the same time, I *know* I need to become more familiar with Google Scholar...

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