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Scopus author profile tips from a research impact librarian

With Rachel Miles, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University | Feb 25, 2020

Scopus Author profiles

It was 18 short months ago that the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in the US introduced Rachel Miles’ current role of Research Impact Librarian. The new position is a testament to the institution’s appetite to maximize impact potential.


Rachel explains: “One day I might be running a workshop for faculty,  graduate students and postdocs on using a particular tool to understand impact. Another day I might help visualize research outputs for administrators, so that they can get a better sense of how their departments and faculty are performing.”

Whatever the task at hand, Rachel often turns to Elsevier’s Scopus; for example, to help researchers analyze their cited records: “You can get a sense for who these people are and their impact. Looking at the different funding organizations for their publications can also be a great way for the author to find new funding sources.” In a recent Library Connect webinar, Rachel shared some of her key dos and don’ts when she’s working with Scopus.


  • If you are helping someone, DO encourage them to open a Scopus account in their name

“Among other things, this allows them to save searches, which is really helpful if they want to run the same query again later; for example, to check whether an author has any additional publications. They can also save lists; I use this function a lot when I'm trying to build a publication set for a group of authors or a department or college. Having an account also allows them to perform specific types of tracking analysis, view corrections, set alerts for things like citations and publications, and submit a request ticket.”


  • DO get authors to claim and update their Scopus author profile, if they have one

“I always get people to search for themselves in the author search. If it's not a very unique name then I’ll recommend entering the affiliation as well. However, be careful – you don’t want to limit results if they may have been at another institution, and, for some reason, have more than one author ID. They should also connect their profile to their ORCID ID. ORCID is a universal author identifier and helps with accurate data. There’s a how-to video which explains how you can do it and the benefits of doing so.”


  • DO encourage authors to sync their Scopus profile with their ORCID ID

“This is different than simply linking.  One of the best benefits for faculty, is that syncing imports all their information from their ORCID ID to Scopus or vice versa, so they only have to enter the data once. At the moment, a Scopus profile seems to be the only identifier that syncs to ORCID. Others can be synced from ORCID. Scopus also has a range of export types, for example, BibTeX files, which can be important if an author wants to export only selected files to their ORCID ID.”


  • DO consider whether an author might have multiple IDs before carrying out any analysis

“For example, say there’s an author called Sherrie Clark, and she changed her name to Sherrie Clark-Deener at some point, creating a new author profile. You’ll need to view the documents in both her author profiles to carry out an effective analysis. We also subscribe to SciVal, so I'll actually export all those identifiers into one publication set before I analyze them.”


  • DON’T merge author IDs unless you have the author in question sitting next to you

“It’s easy to be fooled into thinking that two different author profiles are the same – there are a lot of similar names out there and there could even be two Cynthia Smiths in the same field. We even have people who have the same name here at Virginia Tech in their different fields. You don't want to get it wrong – I hear records aren’t easy to unmerge!”


Want to know more?

Rachel was a presenter for the Library Connect webinar The library’s role in high-value profiles of ​researchers and institutions held in February. You’ll find Rachel’s presentation between minutes 17:19 and 35:46 in the recorded version of the webinar.