Paul L. Caron

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Use Of Google Scholar And Hein Author Profiles Boosts Citations

Caroline Osborne (West Virginia) & Stephanie Miller (West Virginia), The Scholarly Impact Matrix: An Empirical Study of How Multiple Metrics Create an Informed Story of a Scholar's Work:

Google HeinonlineThis article analyzes data collected in an empirical study of citation metrics. Between February 1, 2019 and April 30, 2019, the authors collected citation data from Google Scholar, HeinOnline, Westlaw, Lexis, SSRN, and Digital Commons repositories on randomly selected faculty members at U.S. law schools for the purpose of answering questions regarding fit and utility of citation metrics. Analysis of the citation data examines the impact of adoption of scholarly profiles, gender, and stage in the profession, and discipline, on exposure on citation with the conclusion that exposure results in increased citations.

This examination of metrics measuring exposure and citation demonstrates that greater exposure leads to greater citations. This suggests that robust promotion and scholarly communication efforts that lead to downloads have cascading effects that lead to increased citation. Scholars with Google Scholar profiles enjoy a greater likelihood of citation and exposure across all platforms in the study with the exception of HeinOnline. This suggests scholars should adopt Google Scholar profiles. In contrast, the Hein Author profile while having no apparent benefit for exposure does positively impact citation. This finding suggests scholars should adopt the Hein Author profile. ORCiD has no measurable impact on either exposure or citation but may have other benefits not explored in the underlying study or this paper.

Gender impacts citation with men more likely to be frequently cited or significantly cited when compared to women. ...

The results centered on the scholar’s state of career are as anticipated. The mature scholar, one with twenty plus years in the profession, enjoys a greater likelihood of being significantly cited than those with less years in the profession. This reflects the long tail of scholarship. In contrast, scholars, with between eight and nineteen years in the profession, receive the benefit of exposure being more likely to be in the significantly downloaded interval than either those with greater or fewer years in the profession. Analysis from this study supports a generational difference and the development of institutional use of IR’s and SSRN.

Institution rank produces a benefit at the frequently cited interval for those at a T-14 institution, but rank is irreverent at the significantly cited level, except on HeinOnline where scholars at T-50 schools are more likely to be significantly cited than scholars at a T-14 institution. Scholars at T14 institutions enjoy a benefit at the frequently cited level.


The HeinOnline results are mirrored on SSRN with scholars at T-50 institution enjoying greater exposure at the significantly downloaded interval than their colleagues at T-14 institutions.


Profiles lead to exposure and exposure leads to citations is the most important finding from this study. Scholars developing a narrative about their scholarship should adopt strategies that maximize exposure including adoption of both the Google Scholar and Hein Author profiles and embracing a robust program of scholarly communication. Scholars should also acknowledge that no single metric will tell the complete story of a body of work. Understanding that different sources for metrics tell different stories and selecting the source that is most informative regarding a scholar’s distinct body of work is a critical part of a scholar’s scholarly impact strategy. Similarly understanding the limitation on any single metric is fundamental.

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