How do I keep my profile up-to-date?
There are two ways to keep your profile up-to-date. The easiest way to do this is to use the default settings when setting up your profile. This means Google Scholar automatically adds any publications that its algorithm thinks are yours. So, whenever you have a new publication, Google Scholar will automatically add it.
This may seem a tempting option as it involves no additional work. However, it creates two problems. First, the Google Scholar algorithm will add anything that carries your name. This includes not just legitimate journal publications, book, chapters and other publications that you are proud of, but also “rubbish”. Because Google Scholar draws its information from the web without any human intervention, it occasionally finds “publications” that are not real publications. Here are some publications it found for me:
The first two are clearly nonsense and the third is a data parsing error. I was accidentally added as an author on a paper in the same issue of a journal in which I had published a paper. For most academics these errors are rare and “rubbish” publications typically don’t have any citations. Hence, they don’t appear at the top of your profile. However, they still pollute your profile. If you sort your profile by year some of these rubbish publications might obscure your real academic contributions.
Second, the Google Scholar algorithm will add anything it thinks you have published. This algorithm works well if – like me – you are the only academic publishing under your last name, or the only one with a specific combination of initial/first name and last name.
However, the algorithm falls down if you have “namesakes”, i.e., academics with an identical name. If you are called for instance Garcia, Johnson, Kim, Lee, Li, Martin, Müller, Patel, Rossi, Sato, Silva, Smith, or Zhang, you are likely to have many academic namesakes, unless you have a very unique first name and you never publish with your initials only. If you have such a common name, your profile might very quickly look like the above profile by a business management student, making it impossible to even find your own publications.
Please note that this problem is by no means limited to Google Scholar. Scopus and the Web of Science are better in author disambiguation as they use additional criteria such as disciplinary area. However, their disambiguation is by no means perfect. For a hilarious example of the lack of disambiguation in the Web of Science, see: Health Warning: Might Contain Multiple Personalities