Google Scholar Profiles are useful, but are not as good as they could be. In our last post, we identified their limitations: dirty data, a closed platform, and a narrow understanding of what constitutes scholarly impact.
That said, Google Scholar Profiles are still an important tool for thousands of academics worldwide. So, how can researchers overcome Google Scholar Profiles’ weaknesses?
In this post, we share 7 essential tips for your Google Scholar Profile. They’ll keep your citation data clean, help you keep tabs on colleagues and competitors, increase your “Googlability,” and more. Read on!
1. Clean up your Google Scholar Profile data
Thanks to Google Scholar Profiles’ “auto add” functionality, your Profile might include some articles you didn’t author.
If that’s the case, you can remove them in one of two ways:
clicking on the title of each offending article to get to the article’s page, and then clicking the trashcan/“Delete” button in the top green bar
from the main Profile page, ticking the boxes next to each incorrect article and selecting the “Delete” from the drop-down menu in the top green bar
If you want to prevent incorrect articles from appearing on your profile in the first place, you can change your Profile settings to require Google Scholar to email you for approval before adding anything. To make this change, from your main Profile page, click the “More” button that appears in the top grey bar. Select “Profile updates” and change the setting to “Don’t automatically update my profile.”
Prefer to roll the dice? You can keep a close eye on what articles are automatically added to your profile by signing up for alerts (more info about how to do that below) and manually removing any incorrect additions that appear.
2. Add missing publications to your Profile
Google Scholar is pretty good at adding new papers to your profile automatically, but sometimes articles can fall through the cracks.
To add an article, click “Add” in the top grey bar on the main Profile page. Then, you can add your missing articles in one of three ways:
Click the “Add article manually” link in the left-hand navigation bar. On the next page, add as much descriptive information about your article, book, thesis, patent, or other publication as possible. The more metadata you add, the better a chance Google Scholar has of finding citations to your work.
- Click “Add articles” in the left-hand navigation bar to get a list of articles that Google Scholar thinks you may have authored. Select the ones you’ve actually authored and add them to your profile by clicking the “Add” button at the top.
- Select “Add add article groups” from the left-hand navigation bar to review groups of articles that Scholar thinks you may have authored under another name. This is a new feature that’s less than perfect–hence we’ve listed it as a last choice for ways to add stuff to your profile.
Got all your publications added to your Profile? Good, now let’s move on.
3. Increase your “Googleability”
One benefit to Google Scholar Profiles is that they function as a landing page for your publications. But that functionality only works if your profile is set to “public.”
Double-check your profile visibility by loading your profile and, at the top of the main page, confirming that it reads, “My profile is public” beneath your affiliation information.
If it’s not already public, change your profile visibility by clicking the “Edit” button at the top of your profile, selecting “My profile is public”, and then clicking “Save”.
4. Use your Google Scholar Profile data to get ahead
Though Google Scholar Profile’s limitations means you can’t use it to completely replace your CV, you can use your Profile data to enhance your CV. You can also use your Profile data in annual reports, grant applications, and other instances where you want to document the impact of your publications.
Google Scholar doesn’t allow users to download a copy of their citation data, unfortunately. Any reuse of Google Scholar Profile data has to be done the old-fashioned way: copying and pasting.
That said, a benefit of regularly updating your CV to include copied-and-pasted Google Scholar Profile citations is that it’s a low-tech backup of your Google Scholar Profile data–essential in case Google Scholar is ever deprecated.
5. Stay up-to-date when you’ve been cited
One benefit to Google Scholar Profiles is that you can “Follow” yourself to get alerts whenever you’re cited. As we described in our Ultimate guide to staying up-to-date on your articles’ impact:
Visit your profile page and click the blue “Follow” button at the top of your profile. Click it. Enter your preferred email address in the box that appears, then click “Create alert.” You’ll now get an alert anytime you’ve received a citation.
You can also click “Follow new articles” on your own profile to be emailed every time a new article is added automatically–key to making sure the data in your Profile is clean, as we discussed in #1 above.
6. …and stay up-to-date on your colleagues and competitors, too
Similarly, you can sign up to receive an email every time someone else receives a new citation or publishes a new article. (I like to think of it as “business intelligence” for busy academics.) It’s as easy as searching for them by name and, on their profile page, clicking “Follow new articles” or “Follow new citations.”
7. Tell Google Scholar how it can improve
Finally, Google Scholar–like most services–relies on your feedback in order to improve. Get in touch with them via this Contact Us link to let them know how they can better their platform. (Be sure to mention that an open API is key to filling the service gaps they can’t offer, especially with respect to altmetrics!)
Do you have Google Scholar Profiles hacks that you use to get around your Profile’s limitations? Leave them in the comments below or join the conversation on Twitter @impactstory!
Updated 12/19/2014 to reflect changes in the Google Scholar profile redesign.