Raising your Academic Profile with Google Scholar (JALT 2013)


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While Google Scholar is useful to find reliable research sources, it is increasingly used also to evaluate the academic output of individuals and higher education institutions. For an article published in 2013, the author investigated the criteria utilized by eight prominent higher education ranking organizations. Online factors, providing data that are convenient and economical to gather, such as the number of pages found by Google in a university’s domain on the open Web, were found to play an increasing role in the ranking criteria. When institutions, particularly in Japan, punch below their weight in national and international rankings, they could benefit from optimization strategies to align their Web presence with the algorithms by which their academic output is measured. Moreover, Google Scholar has the added dimension of data on individual authors who can, in the aggregate, contribute to the ranking of their institutions. Citations in particular, the gold standard of peer recognition, are utilized in rankings as counted by Google Scholar, but its automatic algorithms may find only a fraction of the citations to individuals’ publications. To remedy what individuals can affect, certain online formats and campus research repositories are recommended, while each individual author can develop a Google Scholar Profile for fuller recognition. The presenter has observed how new additions to a campus repository soon result in an uptick of citations found by Google Scholar. Participants will thus learn how to customize Google Scholar Profiles and other optimization strategies to raise their academic profile and that of their institutions.

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Raising your Academic Profile with Google Scholar (JALT 2013)

  1. 1.  Introduction: international university rankings  Education Ministry (MEXT) on how to rise in the rankings  Kansai universities’ reputation vs. international rankings  Online factors that academics can optimize  Open Web presence and impact of the university site  Online research repositories for faculty publications  Surprising uses of Google Scholar  Used by ranking organizations to evaluate universities  It finds and links publications, and it counts citations  It can be used to optimize faculty academic recognition  How to set up and customize Google Scholar Profiles  Conclusion: faculty-university mutual commitment
  2. 2. MEXT: “In order to rise in rankings, it is necessary for researchers attached to universities to do original studies, through which, among other things, their published papers will be cited by other researchers” (author’s translation). Yahoo News (2013, July 29). Daigaku sekai ranku iri shien, 10-ko 100-oku-en hojo [¥10 billion to support the inclusion of 10 universities in world rankings]. Yomiuri Shimbun. Retrieved from: http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20130729-00000620-yom-soci
  3. 3. 4ICU Japan QS Asia 300 WM Japan WM World SIR Japan SIR Asia SIR World Average Japan Kwansei Gakuin 49 251300 82 1,850 151 667 2,018 94 (5) Kansai 21 43 1,285 104 441 1,467 56 (4) Doshisha 22 201250 39 1,210 86 367 1,257 49 (3) Ritsumeikan 44 181190 15 649 57 259 974 39 (2) Kyoto Sangyo 38 111 2,191 215 936 2,524 121 (7) Kinki 41 31 1,080 38 176 738 37 (1) Konan 130 128 2,499 189 836 2,340 149 (8) Ryukoku 28 71 1,690 187 828 2,327 95 (6) 181190
  4. 4. Sources, author’s translations and notes “KAN-KAN-DO-RITS 関関同立(Kwansei Gakuin University, Kansai University, Doshisha University, and Ritsumeikan University) is the abbreviation that many people refer to when talking about the four leading private universities in the region (of 20 million people…” from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ritsumeikan_University 「これら各大学は、関西・西日本における難関私立大学として知られている」 from http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/関関同立 [It means that KanKanDoRits are known as competitive-entry private universities in the Kansai region and Western Japan] 「西日本、関西圏における中堅私立大学として知られている」 from http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/産近甲龍 [It means that SanKinKoRyu are known as mainstay private universities in Kansai] University ranking organizations 4ICU = 4 International Colleges & Universities, Japan from http://www.4icu.org/jp QS = Quacquarelli Symonds, QS University Rankings: Asia top 300, from http://www.topuniversities.com/university-rankings/asian-university-rankings/2013 WM = Webometrics [impact is 50% and means backlinks to the university’s official Web domain], Japan & World from http://www.webometrics.info/en/Asia/Japan SIR = SCImago [includes government & corporate research institutes], Japan, Asia, & World from http://www.scimagoir.com/pdf/SIR%20Global%20JPN%202013%20O.pdf
  5. 5. QS Asia Facultytop 300 student rank ratio Citations per paper Int’l faculty Int’l students Papers In-/Out- Advanper bound tage faculty exchange students Kinki (Kindai) 181190 63.3 90.4 37.1 5.3 22.2 4.4/ 1.2- Publications Ritsumeikan 181190 24.9 34.5 71.5 30.3 14.9 4.9/ 16.5 Int’lization Relative to each other & Asia 300 Same Kinki good, Rits weak Kinki excels, Rits weak Rits good, Kinki weak Rits better, both weak Kinki Rits Kinki better, better, overall both both very advanweak weak tage
  6. 6. Sources, notes, and findings  Most ranking organizations do not disclose their proprietary formulae, such as weighting of criteria.  QS includes academic & employer reputation, but data are not disclosed.  QS lists Kinki right above Rits in the 181-190 range, with a numerical advantage overall in the criteria, i.e., faculty-student ratio, publications & internationalization.  In the previous chart, 4ICU & SCImago gave Kinki the advantage, while (Weboriented) WM rated Rits highly.  The above chart suggests that papers and citations gave Kinki the advantage.  Although the London Times lists only a global top 400, regarding its weighting: “The biggest proportion of a university’s ranking - a third - comes from how frequently its research is cited by academics.” Bushra, S. (2013, October 2). Asian universities catch up with U.S., Britain: annual index. Reuters. Retrieved from http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/10/02/useducation-universities-idUSBRE99114Q20131002 Cf. also http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/world-university-rankings
  7. 7. Interpretation and recommendations How can these findings be interpreted?  Have the reputations of well-known Kansai universities fossilized?  Or does the Web presence of some universities not fit with the ranking criteria and Google algorithms by which their academic output is measured? The above findings and heavy weighting of publications suggested by the London Times support the conclusion that the KanKanDoRitsu universities punch below their weight compared to Kindai because of a lack of faculty publications, citations, or recognition thereof. Then what can university stakeholders do for fuller academic recognition? Not to game the system, but knowing that rankings are conducted mostly online, optimize the university’s Web presence to align with the media and algorithms by which academic output is now measured. Let all affiliated stakeholders, including part-time teachers, contribute to the university Website. The rest of this presentation provides further recommendations, with more details in the handout.
  8. 8. According to criteria of ranking organizations and Google Scholar:  Publish more content of all kinds  on the open Web, not password-protected  in the main campus domain, e.g., www.xyz.ac.jp/subdomain/article.pdf  English or multilingual versions of articles, abstracts & keywords  Interlink all Web content  Standardize spellings of individuals and university names  Format online publications and presentations in PDF / rich files  Format articles to match Google Scholar algorithms See the handout later for details McCarty, S. (2013). Web presence and higher education rankings. Online Education Insights, 5 (1). Retrieved from http://www.waoe.org/WP/?page_id=183
  9. 9.  Reprint faculty papers on the open Web  Need permission to reprint closed publications  Affect the size of the university’s measured academic output  Attract links and citations, which can raise the university’s ranking  Use open source research repository software (next slide)  Are interoperable with Google Scholar, CiNii in Japan, etc.  Such data are also used by university ranking organizations  Increase exposure, backlinks (a measure of impact), etc.  Citations tend to be more numerous to open access publications  Also interoperable are repositories such as http://www.getcited.org and http://www.academia.edu Butler, K. (2013). Scientists who share data publicly receive more citations. UPI Science News. Retrieved from http://www.upi.com/Science_News/Blog/2013/10/01/ Scientists-who-share-data-publicly-receive-more-citations/7861380637421
  10. 10. A presentation saved in PDF format becomes available to download, found by other repositories and Google Scholar, then possibly cited.
  11. 11. The usual use of Google Scholar is to find reliable sources for research. Search results show the disciplinary context of a phrase, citations to articles, formats for references, and who is doing similar research. From http://scholar.google.com/schhp?hl=en
  12. 12. Webometrics 2012 global university ranking criteria Google Scholar is used by ranking organizations to evaluate university academic output. It compiles data on the publications and citations of individual authors. However, citations are selectively and incompletely counted online. Thus the chief recommendation for universities is for all faculty members who publish to set up and customize their own Google Scholar Profile.
  13. 13. Example Google Scholar Profile: The focus is on citations. It handles various languages. A verifiable academic e-mail address is necessary. Articles can be sorted by most cited (the default) or in reverse chronological order (click on “Year”). Customization includes specializations, co-authors (invited by email), and manually adding publications that Google Scholar does not find.
  14. 14. Start at http://scholar.google.com or http://scholar.google.co.jp (日本語で) Click on Sign in, log into your Google account if necessary, and apply to set up a Google Scholar Profile using your main academic e-mail address, such as User_ID@xyz.ac.jp To customize, click on links or choose among “Actions” from the dropdown menu on your profile page. Your Profile, which is indexed with a high weight in Google search results, can serve as an online list of publications, updated automatically and manually throughout your career. See the handout later for step-by-step directions
  15. 15. Example of a Google Scholar Profile sorted in reverse chronological order
  16. 16. After clicking on the title of a publication in the profile, fuller details appear. In the profiles only the first initials of authors are used. “Scholar articles” are versions found automatically, while the above sections were added manually.
  17. 17. After clicking on “Edit” (previous slide) or “Add” and then “Add article manually” from the Profile page, fill in the text boxes to make changes or to add new publications (above example of an online article).
  18. 18. Citations  Gold standard of peer review.  Average number of citations is about 1.5 per publication in databases, so it is a lifelong journey.  Google Scholar cannot find all the citations to a scholarly publication, but more tend to be found if Google Scholar Profiles are manually updated and if papers are placed online, particularly in research repositories. An uptick in citations found by Google Scholar has been seen to closely follow new additions to a campus repository.  Authors who cite one’s publications may be helpful for one’s research.  Open access publications tend to be found and could be cited more than more prestigious publications that are strictly kept offline. This may eventually tilt the field toward openness.  Rory McGreal (UNESCO/COL OER Chair): “if you have to pay, it is a scam.” From http://landing.athabascau.ca/blog/view/359416/scam-open-access-journals
  19. 19. Conclusions and Recommendations  Many Japanese universities are punching below their weight due to a lack of citations (MEXT, 2013) and rich content including English on their Website, so be a faculty hero by helping optimize academic accomplishments for fuller recognition.  Universities hurt their rankings by high teacher turnover and part-time hiring.  Attractiveness to foreign students (reputation) is affected by rankings abroad.  Have an open source online campus research repository of faculty publications.  Have all affiliated scholars who publish maintain a Google Scholar Profile. Keep it academically honest, for example by combining or eliminating mistaken entries.  Optimize as well as maximize Web presence.  Have all campus Website pages interlinked, and encourage links from other domains by providing faculty homepages and useful community services.  Show abundance and openness rather than scarcity and exclusiveness.  University-faculty mutual commitment is a key point: universities that treat their stakeholders better can rise higher in the global rankings. See the handout for details