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Google Scholar and Web of Science: Examining gender differences in citation coverage across five scientific disciplines

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Many studies demonstrate differences in the coverage of citing publications in Google Scholar (GS) and Web of Science (WoS). Here, we examine to what extent citation data from the two databases reflect the scholarly impact of women and men differently. Our conjecture is that WoS carries an indirect gender bias in its selection criteria for citation sources that GS avoids due to criteria that are more inclusive. Using a sample of 1250 U.S. researchers in Sociology, Political Science, Economics, Cardiology and Chemistry, we examine gender differences in the average citation coverage of the two databases. We also calculate database-specific h-indices for all authors in the sample. In repeated simulations of hiring scenarios, we use these indices to examine whether women's appointment rates increase if hiring decisions rely on data from GS in lieu of WoS. We find no systematic gender differences in the citation coverage of the two databases. Further, our results indicate marginal to non-existing effects of database selection on women's success-rates in the simulations. In line with the existing literature, we find the citation coverage in WoS to be largest in Cardiology and Chemistry and smallest in Political Science and Sociology. The concordance between author-based h-indices measured by GS and WoS is largest for Chemistry followed by Cardiology, Political Science, Sociology and Economics.
TidsskriftJournal of Informetrics
Sider (fra-til)950-959
Antal sider10
StatusUdgivet - 2018

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