Vol. 25, Núm. 1 (2016)
Using Google Scholar in research evaluation of humanities and social science programs: A comparison with Web of Science data
Ad A.M. Prins, Rodrigo Costas, Thed N. van Leeuwen and Paul F. Wouters
Abstract : In this paper, we report on the application of Google Scholar (GS)-based metrics in the formal assessment of research programs. Involved were programs in the fields of Education, Pedagogical Sciences, and Anthropology in The Netherlands. Also, a comparative analysis has been conducted of the results based on GS and Web of Science (WoS). Studies critical of GS point at its reliability of data. We show how the reliability of the GS data for the bibliometric analysis of the assessment can be improved by excluding non-verifiable citing sources from the full second-order GS citing data. The study of the background of these second-order sources demonstrates a broadening of the citing sources. The comparison of GS with WoS citations for the publications of the programs shows that it is promising to use GS for fields with lower degrees of coverage in WoS, in particular for fields that produce more diverse types of output than just research articles. Restrictions to the use of GS are the intensive manual data handling and cleaning, necessary for a feasible and proper data collection. We discuss wider implications of the findings for bibliometric analysis and for the practices and policies in research evaluation.
Keywords: Google Scholar research evaluation humanities social sciences web of science data reliability.