Google Scholar profiles

academia early-career google-scholar

During January 2019, mostly out of frustration that a graduate student whose work I was trying to boost did not did not have a Google Scholar profile, I wrote the following Twitter thread:

“Grad. student/ECR PSA: please, please, please get a Google Scholar profile. If I’m trying to find your work, a GS profile makes it faster and easier for me. Faster/easier -> citing you is faster/easier. I don’t care if you have an h-index of 0. #phdchat 1/3

I could always look up a senior person on the paper, but generally I remember YOU. The senior peeps sometimes have lots of papers a year, time spent digging is lost. If you have one paper, you should have a profile. My thoughts. 2/3

That being said, Google scholar is not perfect, and if you have a common name (Bob Smith), you should set it up so that you approve all the suggestions. You can also remove papers from your list. FIN. 3/3”

Acronyms: ECR = Early Career Researcher, PSA = Public Service Announcement.

So here’s some more detail on this topic, including some of the discussion on Twitter.

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People remember the literature in different ways.

If I have gone to meeting and seen a presentation, I remember the person presenting, which institution, and usually at least one figure. If I have talked to that person, I have a very strong memory of the conversation, and what the room looked like. Evidently this is unusual.

Then, when I am writing a paper, there may be 100+ possible papers to cite in support of certain ideas. I cite the work I already know, as well as new work, and I actively try to cite the work of ECRs (including graduate students). This is incredibly hard if I cannot find the work. Do not make it hard to find your work! I am not a person who remembers the journal, and some journals have terrible search functions. And imagine typing very common last names into IEEE xPlore – disaster. So get a Google Scholar profile.

Having a Google Scholar profile is the bare minimum for participation in academic life.

Having a Google Scholar profile is not bragging. Do not compare h-indexes. Some job applications require, or strongly suggest, that candidates get a profile during the application process. Many faculty members are dispensing with the traditional list of publications, and just linking to Google Scholar. It is not spammy like ResearchGate, and open to the public, not just researchers.

Google Scholar options.

A lot has been written about all of the options for Google Scholar. I won’t go into all of them here, but you can approve each paper before it is added, manually add items, and set up alerts.


Collaborators in biology also suggested getting an ORCID. I do use ORCID for many things, particularly when I am submitting papers, but when I want to look up an author, I go to Google Scholar. For sure, if you have changed your name during your publishing career, an ORCID is very useful to pull your publishing record together under one ID.

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