identity crisis

No, no, I'm not the one having trouble with my identity, it's the internet.

Something that's bugged me for awhile is that, due to my very common name compounded with the fact that I usually publish with my given initials only, when I search for my own papers in web of science or inspec, or any other of the publication databases, it is next to impossible to find my papers through the hundreds of others with the same moniker. It is especially problematic as it seems there is someone at my institution with the same first initial and same last name that publishes on many, many super multi-author publications, thus totally drowning out my (meager) contributions to science.

Let's just completely ignore the fact that when you google my name you get a freestyle skier that likes to pose skantily clad for magazines.

So back to the indexes... I've often thought that in today's age of electronic databases that we could have some kind of online association such that if a person found ONE of your papers, or maybe knew some topics you had already published on, could associate you with you repertoire. I also thought this could be useful if say, you got married and decided to change your name. One quick click to associate the two names, and that issue would be taken out of the dilemma. Easy-peasy right? Seems like it should be. A little while ago ISI web of science introduced an author search and I thought I'd finally be able to find myself, but it wasn't really flexible enough to deal with a somewhat varied set of research papers associated with different institutions. Just not there yet...

Well, a couple of days ago I got an email from ISI to try something they're introducing called ResearcherID.com. Basically it lets you input your information, including institution, full name(s!), research area, etc, etc. Then you can search, though web of science, for your papers and add them to your profile. It then keeps track of the citation information for your papers, and people can search ResearcherID for your name and whatever other info they might know about you to find your unique profile. I think it's great! I hope it catches on.

Now I can stop calculating my own h-index and just look it up. Oh, stop looking at me like that... as if you've never kept track of your citations. The whole thing gave me a little confidence boost on a somewhat low day as well since I discovered that my 8 papers have been cited a total of 73 times! Whoah... However, my h-index is sitting at 3, which according to Wikipedia's article isn't stupendous for a physicist:

In physics, a moderately productive scientist should have an h equal to the number of years of service...

Ok, that statement probably doesn't apply well to the beginning of one's career (if we count from my first publication date of 2002 even though I was still an undergrad at the time, that makes 6 years.), but still, I would like to see it get closer.

... but I digress...

For those of you who are interested in this ResearcherID thing, it seems to be by invitation only right now, but there is a sign-up sheet to be informed of developments (I think I got invited because I evaluated the author search feature at one point and got on ISI's spam list).

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