n Mousaion - Assessing researchers' performance in developing countries : is Google Scholar an alternative?

Volume 27, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0027-2639



This article compares the representation of 10 purposefully selected LIS researchers in South Africa in Google Scholar (GS), Thomson Scientific's (herein referred to as ISI - Institute for Scientific Information) citation indexes, and Elsevier's Scopus, in order to determine whether or not Google Scholar is an alternative tool for evaluating research in developing countries, particularly those situated in Sub-Saharan Africa. Three indicators, namely the number of publications, the number of citations and the h-index, were used to measure the similarity or dissimilarity between the three databases / services in the coverage of South Africa's LIS documents. The data was also subjected to a Pearson correlation analysis to examine the relationship between GS and ISI, GS and Scopus and ISI and Scopus. Results show that GS covers more publications and citations than ISI and Scopus. There is a stronger correlation between GS and Scopus than there is between GS and ISI. We conclude that GS is an alternative service, but should be cautiously used when evaluating research in developing countries. Areas for further research are also recommended.

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