As announced on the Google Scholar Blog yesterday, there is now the option of creating a researcher profile of yourself. Google’s documentation of this service (“Google Scholar Citations”) is here.
Google Scholar Citations is currently in limited launch with a small number of users. This is a new direction for us and we plan to use the experience and feedback from the limited launch to improve the service. Click here and follow the instructions to get started. Keep in mind that this is a limited launch and we may not be able to accept new users when you click. If this happens, we’ll direct you to a sign-up page where you can register to be notified when Google Scholar Citations is available to all users.
I have worked a bit on my profile, correcting some typos (like the spelling of my name … sigh). NB: “If you have substantially changed the bibliographic record (title, authors, journal, etc.), we may not able to match it up with Google Scholar’s index right away. If so, it may take a few days for your citation metrics to include the updated article.” That’s a bit scary so I haven’t gone all out updating the bibliographic details, but I might try it on a test case.
This pretty much sums it up. I seem to have reached my theoretical workload limit:
Whenever people (in particular, graduate students) talk to me or correspond with me about topics I have written about at some point in my career, I notice they are confused by my general attitude. Well, part of it is that I have a memory like a sieve as far as details of my own papers are concerned, so I often have to puzzle out things with them as if I was reading someone else’s work. But the thing of it is that I do consider old work of mine to be work by someone else. That work was written by a previous time slice of myself that I do not anymore have any privileged access to or even a strong emotional bond with. So, I do not feel a strong emotional attachment to the ideas and approaches advocated in those papers. I look at them as honest attempts to figure out how things work, but if more recent investigations of the same facts or additional facts point to a different solution, that’s just fine with me. I don’t feel like I necessarily “have skin in the game”, as the sports metaphor goes. So, if students challenge my old ideas, so be it. Let’s follow the facts wherever they lead.
There are some countervailing considerations.
First, at least for a certain amount of time, I believe that authors have an obligation to be the best advocate for their ideas that they can be. This relates to a point made by Geoff Pullum in his “Five Golden Rules (well, actually six) for giving academic presentations”, with which I wholeheartedly agree:
REMEMBER THAT YOU’RE AN ADVOCATE, NOT THE DEFENDANT. It’s your idea that’s being presented, not you. The reason for not feeling nervous is that you are not what’s up for consideration (not even at a job talk; they consider you later!). This isn’t about you (that’s why you shouldn’t begin with an apology: that’s about how you feel). It’s the ideas that are going to get scrutiny. If those ideas don’t survive after today, too bad for them. You can’t work miracles. But for today, you’re there to do as fair a job as you can for them during their twenty minutes in the spotlight. You’re a vehicle, an advocate, a public defender. These ideas might have been unfairly dismissed without a trial. No matter what the ultimate verdict, you will have served the court of scholarly opinion if you defend them effectively.
And secondly, no matter how old the work is, there are two offenses against it that I do get hot under the collar about: not properly acknowledging and citing the work and misrepresenting the work. But that’s actually an attitude I have about anybody’s work. Citing properly and representing previous work accurately is an indispensable part of serious scholarship and science.
How do others feel about their old work? Do you feel like you still have skin in the game?