30 jul. 2015

How is an academic social site populated? A demographic study of Google Scholar Citations population

José Luis Ortega
How is an academic social site populated? A demographic study of Google Scholar Citations population 
Scientometrics, 2015, 104(1):1–18 
DOI 10.1007/s11192-015-1593-7


Objectives
The principal objective of this work is to describe the growth of GSC in its initial moments (2011–2012) through a set of personal attributes such as bibliometric indicators, positions, disciplines, organizations and countries. This objective aims to make clear the biases that could appear in this population and discuss how they would affect the research evaluation.
Several research questions can be formulated from this primary objective:
• How is the growth of profiles in GSC and how can the number of profiles be estimated?
• How have the characteristics that define this population (bibliometric indicators,
position, discipline, affiliation and country) evolved during this initial moment?
• What consequences could have this distribution of profiles for research evaluation?
Methods
Quarterly samples from December 2011 to December 2012 were extracted from Google Scholar Citations to analyse the number of members, distribution of their bibliometric indicators, positions, institutional and country affiliations and the labels to describe their scientific activity.
Results
- Google Scholar Citations was growing very fast during 2012, going from 26,600 profiles in December 2011 to 187,301 in December 2012. At least from the harvested data, because our estimations suggest 236,000 profiles, which is close to 10 times of the initial size
- Most of the users are young researchers, with a starting scientific career 
- From the subject matter point of view, Google Scholar Citationsis dominated since its beginnings by researchers close to Computer Science and related disciplines. However, the last samples appreciate the emergence of researchers from Physics and Environmental Sciences and
Medicine that balance the thematic distribution of the service.
- Both country and institutional distributions exhibit evidence that this service is getting populated by waves of researchers, firstly from English-speaking countries where Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology were outstood; then from European countries and finally from emergent countries, highlighting Brazil and their Universidade of Sa˜o Paulo and Universidade Estadual Paulista.


With the fast growth of Google Scholar, the question is:  What is the situation in july 2015?



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