Author Identifier

Margaret Merga

Sayidi Mat Roni

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title





School of Education / School of Business and Law




Edith Cowan University - Open Access Support Scheme 2020


Merga, M. K., Roni, S. M., & Mason, S. (2020). Should Google Scholar be used for benchmarking against the professoriate in education?. Scientometrics, 1-18.


In the neoliberal environment of contemporary academia, an individual’s research rankings and outputs can shape their career security and progression. When applying for ongoing employment and promotional opportunities, academics may benchmark their performance against that of superior colleagues to demonstrate their performance in relation to their discipline. The H-index and citation rates are commonly used to quantify the value of an academic’s work, and they can be used comparatively for benchmarking purposes. The focus of this paper is to critically consider if Google Scholar be used for benchmarking against the professoriate in education, by weighting up issues of data reliability and participation. The Google Scholar profiles of full professors at top ranked universities in Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States of America are analysed to explore how widespread Google Scholar use is in the education professoriate. Quartiles of impact are established in relation to H-index, with exploration of how gender is distributed across these quartiles. Limitations of using Google Scholar data are highlighted through a taxonomy of quality confounders, and the utility of Google Scholar as a legitimate tool for benchmarking against the professoriate in education is strongly challenged. As metrics continue to rise in their importance for academics’ job security and promotional prospects, reliance on metrics of dubious quality and uneven participation must be questioned.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.