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Course Research Impacts: Finding articles of an author

Finding articles of an author

Searching for the work of specific authors can be difficult: there can be multiple authors with the same familyname and initials, even within the same research field. An author can also change his or her name (for example after marriage) or change research fields. When you want to compare researchers, for example by looking at their H-indices, it’s important that you are looking at the work of the intended researcher, not also at the work of another researcher with the same name.

Web of Science tries to solve this problem in two ways: the author search, with distinct author sets, and with linking authors to two Author Identifiers: ResearcherID and ORCID.

This part of the course covers:

  • Author search
  • Author Identifiers
  • Author metrics: the H-index

Using the Author search

This Author Search is available by clicking the More tab and then clicking Author Search. The author search consists of three steps. In the first step you have to enter the last name and at least one initial of the author.

Author search

When you hit the Select Research Domain button, you can select the research domains associated with the entered author name. These domains are based on the journals in which the author published, Web of Science doesn't assign research domains to authors or individual articles. You can mark All Research Domains or one or more specific domains, but you can also skip this step (it's optional).

Author search - select research domain

In the third step, you can select organizations associated with the author. The default order is alphabetically, but when you hit the link Record Count the organization with the most records will be on top. This step is optional, you don't have to select organizations.

Please note: when you use this option, check the list carefully. For example: Erasmus University Rotterdam and Erasmus Univ are probably the same organization.

Author Search - select organization

When you hit the Finish Search button, you will see the Author Search Results, based on the entered name, research domains and organizations.

Author search - search results

There are two tabs: the Records, that shows the list of publications, and the Article Groups. This second tab shows you sets of articles likely written by the same author. These sets are computationally grouped together using a proprietary algorithm called the Distinct Author Identification System, which combines a number of data points such as author names, institution names, and citing and cited author relationships (but as you can see from the example that's not perfect!).

From this list you can select one or more sets, by marking them. Click View Records to see the ‘underlying’ articles of the author sets.

How do you choose? Look for example at the Last Known Organization, the Sampling of Publications by this Author, and the publication years to make your choice. Since a computer algorithm is used it’s possible that the researcher you’re looking for has several Author Sets – he or she might have switched to a different research topic. In this example the first article group must contain articles from different authors - it's impossible a researcher started publishing in 1903 and was still publishing in 2017!

Author Results - overview of article groups

Using Author Identifiers

Web of Science displays two author identifiers: ResearcherID (RID) and Open Researcher and Contributor ID (ORCID). These are both individual ID numbers, that will stay with the researcher over the course of his or her career, regardless of name changes or changes in institution affiliation.

ResearcherID is developed by Thomson Reuters (now Clarivate Analytics) and linked to Web of Science. A researcher has to create his own Researcher ID and keep it up to date (we strongly advise you to make your own ResearcherID! See our handout). When you know the ResearcherID of the author you’re interested in, you can enter it in the field 'Author Identifiers'. The ResearcherID is shown in the full record of an article in Web of Science and you can search it on the website

ORCID is an initiative to solve the author/contributor name ambiguity problem in scholarly communications by creating a central registry of unique identifiers for individual researchers and an open and transparent linking mechanism between ORCID and other current author ID schemes, including ResearcherID. Researchers have to create their own ORCID ánd link it with their ResearcherID. ORCID can be linked to other identifiers as well, like the Scopus Author ID. When you know the ORCID of the author you’re interested in, you can enter it in the field 'Author Identifiers'. The ORCID is shown in the full record of an article in Web of Science.

Please note: the researcher has to keep his/her author identifiers up-to-date. It's possible you don't find all his or her publications when you search by an identifier.

The H-index in Web of Science

When you have created a list of publications of the researcher you want to investigate, you can create a Citation Report, based on the records in Web of Science.

Use the link Create Citation Report at the right side on the top of the results.

Here you can see the H-index of the researcher, the number of citations and citing articles, also without self-citations. This information is based on the articles in the results list, so you have to make sure that list is accurate and up-to-date (otherwise the H-index could for example be partially based on the articles and citation received by someone else!).

What does 'without self-citations' mean in Web of Science? This is the total number of citing articles minus any article that appears in the set of search results on the Citation Report. This means this number is not determined by matching author names: it is possible you see articles from the author in the list of citing articles. In that case, check your search criteria, maybe you excluded certain author sets.