Using Google Scholar to track the scholarly output of research groups
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INTRODUCTION: It is often necessary to demonstrate the impact of a research program over time both within and beyond institutions. However, it is difficult to accurately track the publications of research groups over time without significant effort. A simple, scalable, and economical way to track publications from research groups and their metrics would address this challenge. METHODS: Google Scholar automatically tracks the scholarly output and citation counts of individual researchers. We created Google Scholar profiles to track the scholarly productivity of five research groups: an institutional educational research program, a division of emergency medicine, a department of emergency medicine, a national educational scholarship working group, and an international organization dedicated to online education. We added the publications of each group member to their respective group Google Scholar profile and a junior faculty member monitored the citations that were suggested. RESULTS: Google Scholar tracked a diverse collection of five research groups over 6-36 months. In addition to having different organizational structures and purposes, the groups varied in size, consisting of 8-60 researchers, and prolificacy, with group citation counts between 1006-58,380 and group h‑indexes ranging from 19-101. DISCUSSION: We anticipate that as this innovation becomes better known it will increasingly be adopted by traditional and non-traditional research groups to easily track their productivity and impact. Additional initiatives will be needed to standardize reporting guidelines within and between institutions.
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