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Calculate Your Academic Footprint: Author Profiles

Name Ambiguity

It is important for works to be correctly attributed to their author. Unfortunately, name ambiguity can sometimes make this challenging!

Name variants are a key example of name ambiguity and include:

  • More than one author having the same name
  • Similar spelling of name
  • Incorrect name order
  • Use or misuse of middle initial
  • Different version of name used throughout career (name change, maiden name, married name, etc)

Researcher identification systems offer stable author identifiers, and provide one way that author name ambiguity can be proactively decreased. Common researcher identification systems include: ORCID, Scopus Author Identifier, ResearcherID, and Google Scholar Citation Profiles.

1 Smalheiser, N. R., & Torvik, V. I. (2009). Author name disambiguation. Annual Review of Information Science and Technology, 43(1), 1-43. 

Researcher Identification Systems

A variety of free options allow you to create and maintain a stable researcher profile:

ORCiD: enables you to obtain a unique 16 digit identification number that can be used to tie you to your work.  ORCiD enables communication across multiple platforms, including Scopus and Web of Science's ResearcherID.

Scopus Author Identifier: creates an Author Profile with an associated Author Identifier, and associates you with the publications that you have authored.  Allows you to request changes when you notice inaccuracies in your Author Profile.  Scopus also provides the Scopus2Orcid option as a way to link your Author Identifier information with your ORCiD identification number.

ORCID and Scopus: Manage your author profile from Elsevier (Video, 3:00)

Web of Science ResearcherID: add publications that you have authored to a free profile that you create.  You can then use ResearcherID to calculate your h-index based on these publications.

ResearcherID: Creating a Researcher ID from Web of Science Training (Video, 3:00)

Google Scholar Citations Profile: allows you to create a profile, search Google Scholar for articles you have published, and calculate your h-index based on the list of publications you create and vet.

1 Alakangas, S. & Warburton, J. Research impact: h-index. The University of Melbourne. Retrieved from 

Why do I need more than one?

The reality is that different databases use different identification numbers for the same author. 

  • Combine this with the fact that these different databases have different publications and different citing articles within it, and you create the opportunity for missed citations. This greatly increases the chance for the value of your h-index to be negatively affected.

Troubleshooting Tips

Doing an author search in Google Scholar can sometimes be a challenge!  

  • If you create a profile via Google Scholar Citations, Google Scholar will automatically narrow down potential article results for you. This may save time when attempting to locate your articles, but be aware that doing the search yourself is the only way to ensure that all of your articles are included. 
  • Keep in mind that even when creating a Google Scholar Citations Profile, there is the chance that Google Scholar may miss a few.