The wait is over. Google Scholar has just opened its new, free citations tracking and organizing service to all authors. This summer’s dry run of Google Scholar Citations—an alternative to Microsoft Academic Search and other citations services—produced detailed feedback for an uncomplicated system to help researchers find and track the use and impact of their own and others’ published work.
They’ve made it easy to use. Once you’ve identified your articles within Google Scholar and set up a simple profile, Google Scholar Citations counts and charts by year the citations to your work found on the web. It produces a citations metric based on the h- and i10-indices and automatically notifies you when new citations of your work appear. You can link your profile to your own homepage, email it to others, or export articles from it. You retain the ability to edit and maintain it, including making corrections, merging duplications, or updating your own articles manually.
You choose whether to make your profile public or private. Public profiles can be searched by name, academic institution, or area of interest and will appear in a Google name search if they contain a verified university email address.
Initial users welcomed the ease of creating a profile (less easy via a mobile device) but cautioned that citation counts aren’t immune to manipulation. Concerns were raised about the database’s inclusion of non-peer-reviewed publications and material from technical and annual reports as well as the relative difficulty of finding and following other authors’ work. Google Scholar expects functionality to expand as usage increases.