Sunday, December 2, 2012

How to use ResearcherID

ResearcherID is a free service offered by Thomson Reuters that is very useful to scientists for two reasons: First, it allows you to select all your publications and connect them to the eponymous ID. This is especially important if you have a relatively common name, because in that case some potential employer who wants to look you up in a publication database will find a confusing number of entries from many different people. With ResearcherID, you can put the ID onto your website or CV, and people searching for your ID will find your and only your publication record.

Second, you may need to calculate your citation metrics - most frequently lifetime citations and h-index - for an internal report or for the CV that goes with a job or grant application. It is annoying to have to calculate these metrics from scratch every time you need them. With ResearcherID, you merely have to tell the system once which publications are yours and then add any new publication when it appears. If you keep the list updated in that way, ResearcherID will automatically calculate these and other metrics every time you look up your own profile (simply click on "Citation Metrics" under "My Publications" on the left and wait a few seconds).

Registering is easy: visit and follow the instructions. After that, you need to add publications to your profile. Look a bit further down on the main screen and you will find the relevant button on the right.

On the next screen, the system offers three ways of adding publications to your profile. If it does not show the links as seen in the screenshot below, you need to use a different browser. (This is about the only reason I ever deign to use Internet Explorer.)

 Web of Science

You can enter Web of Science while being logged into ResearcherID, search for your publications, and simply have them added to your profile. You must of course declare that these are really yours. This is the easiest way of adding publications, but it works only if you are doing it from the computer of an institution that has paid for access to Web of Science. Another problem is that you cannot import your publications that are not registered in Web of Science this way, e.g. books or papers published in journals that aren't covered by the database.

Endnote Web

You can also import entries from Endnote Web, which is free, but I have no personal experience with it.

RIS files

This is probably the simplest way of importing publications that are not Web of Science listed into your profile. Note that ResearcherID will never show citations for them because they will still not have any stats in Web of Science, but you still may want somebody looking you up on ResearcherID to find them, to showcase all that you have done. They will not even drag down any of your metrics either, not even average citations per publication. For those purposes, they are not counted because there are simply no stats for them.

The way to import these papers (which is also the way to import any of your papers if you do not have access to Web of Science from your computer) is to write yourself an RIS file. This has to be a Windows format (!) plain text file such as you can compose in Notepad that simply lists all relevant information for each publication one after the other. The format is as follows:

TY  - 'JOUR'
AU  - Blinckhorn,N.
AU  - Smith,L.S.
PY  - 2006///
TI  - One new and one rediscovered species of Chelastocleistaceae from the Amazon Basin
T2  - Bulletin of the Hintertupfingen Museum of Natural History
VL  - 43
SP  - 24
EP  - 31
ER  -

TY is the type of publication, in this case a journal article. AU are authors, each one with their own line, PY the date of publication, TI the paper title, T2 the journal title, VL the volume of the journal, SP and EP the starting and ending pages. ER means "end of record". The above information is thus equivalent to this entry in a list of publications:

Blinckhorn N, Smith LS, 2006. One new and one rediscovered species of Chelastocleistaceae from the Amazon Basin. Bulletin of the Hintertupfingen Museum of Natural History 43: 24-31.

The format of a RIS file has to follow the above example rather slavishly. There have to be two spacers, one hyphen and one spacer between any field identifier and the value, line breaks at the end of each piece of information, the three slashes after the year of publication should be there, every record has to end with "ER", etc. I am not sure how crucial they are, but for me an empty line at the beginning of the file and between any two records worked.

You can find more information on the format at the following sites:

Once your file is finished, upload it in ResearcherID. If anything has come out garbled, delete the offending entry in your profile and find out what formatting mistake you may have made.

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