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Do authors play fair or manipulate Google Scholar h-index?

Fayaz Ahmad Loan (Centre of Central Asian Studies, University of Kashmir, Srinagar, India)
Nahida Nasreen (Centre of Central Asian Studies, University of Kashmir, Srinagar, India)
Bisma Bashir (Centre of Central Asian Studies, University of Kashmir, Srinagar, India)

Library Hi Tech

ISSN: 0737-8831

Article publication date: 14 September 2021

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Abstract

Purpose

The study's main purpose is to scrutinize Google Scholar profiles and find the answer to the question, “Do authors play fair or manipulate Google Scholar Bibliometric Indicators like h-index and i10-index?”

Design/methodology/approach

The authors scrutinized the Google Scholar profiles of the top 50 library and science researchers claiming authorship of 21,022 publications. The bibliographic information of all the 21,022 publications like authorship and subject details were verified to identify accuracy, discrepancies and manipulation in their authorship claims. The actual and fabricated entries of all the authors along with their citations were recorded in the Microsoft Office Excel 2007 for further analyses and interpretation using simple arithmetic calculations.

Findings

The results show that the h-index of authors obtained from the Google Scholar should not be approved at its face value as the variations exist in the publication count and citations, which ultimately affect their h-index and i10 index. The results reveal that the majority of the authors have variations in publication count (58%), citations (58%), h-index (42%) and i10-index (54%). The magnitude of variation in the number of publications, citations, h-index and i10-index is very high, especially for the top-ranked authors.

Research limitations/implications

The scope of the study is strictly restricted to the faculty members of library and information science and cannot be generalized across disciplines. Further, the scope of the study is limited to Google Scholar and caution needs to be taken to extend results to other databases like Web of Science and Scopus.

Practical implications

The study has practical implications for authors, publishers, and academic institutions. Authors must stop the unethical research practices; publishers must adopt techniques to overcome the problem and academic institutions need to take precautions before hiring, recruiting, promoting and allocating resources to the candidates on the face value of the Google Scholar h-index. Besides, Google needs to work on the weak areas of Google Scholar to improve its efficacy.

Originality/value

The study brings to light the new ways of manipulating bibliometric indicators like h-index, and i10-index provided by Google Scholar using false authorship claims.

Keywords

Citation

Loan, F.A., Nasreen, N. and Bashir, B. (2021), "Do authors play fair or manipulate Google Scholar h-index?", Library Hi Tech, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/LHT-04-2021-0141

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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