Google Scholar Citations

Google Scholar Citations

What is it?

Google Scholar Citations is a persistent author identifier, meant to differentiate between similarly-named authors and to take variant author name spellings and name changes into account. While in the past this was often a library-driven index, with the advent of the far-reaching digitisation of scholarly publications in the form of e-Journals, we've seen a shift to more database provider-driven indexing. Google Scholar Citations is one example of the latter.

Google Scholar Citations is part of Google Scholar, the academic search engine provided by Google. Citations allows you to create a profile and claim your publications. This ensures that people can easily find all of your articles and it allows Google to group together the correct articles with the correct author without having to do all the disambiguation themselves. Additionally it allows you to be alerted to citations of your work and pull up citation metrics based on the data in the Google Scholar database.

While Google Scholar Citations is a free product, as is Google Scholar itself, Google is most certainly a for-profit company, which makes the continued existence of Google Scholar and Google Scholar Citations somewhat unpredictable since it is unclear how it is profitable to Google. They might decide to discontinue the service at any time.

What can it do for me?

Google Scholar Citations gives you a way to ensure that people searching Google Scholar for your work will find the correct publications attached to your name and access to Google Scholar citation metrics. Google provides you with a list of articles they believe are yours when you set up your profile, you'll need to manually add any missing ones and delete those that aren't actually yours. You'll also need to periodically review your publications list to see whether your latest publications have been added or whether you've been linked to work that isn't yours.

One of the big advantages of Google Scholar Citations is that it allows you to easily keep track of citations of your work and your h-index and i10-index. It also provides a graph of your citation numbers, so you can see citations per year. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that the citation analysis Google Scholar Citations provides is exhaustive, as Google Scholar is only able to index articles found on websites that confirm to their technology guidelines and that allow them to sift through their data. Additionally, policy documents, which are valid sources for citations and impact deduction aren't included in Google Scholar's database.

Privacy issues?

Of course, all the usual privacy caveats apply and additionally, this is a Google product. This means that there will probably be some exchange of information between Google Scholar Citations and any other Google products you might use, such as Gmail or Google+.

Pros & Cons


  • Freely available
  • Covers a wide range of publications
  • You can edit and update your profile directly


  • Coverage is not exhaustive and it is unclear which journals etc. exactly are included in the database
  • Google tends to review their products periodically and discontinue some products unexpectedly as they did with the very popular Google Reader. Google Scholar and thus Google Scholar Citations might be discontinued in a similar fashion.

Who in Leiden?

Dr. Alexander Kros (Leiden Institute of Chemistry) 
Rebekah Tromble, PhD (Institute of Political Science) 
Prof. dr. Lisa Cheng (Leiden University Centre for Linguistics)
Prof.dr. Thomas Hankemeier (LACDR) 
Dr. Anna-Pavlina Haramis (Institute of Biology Leiden)