Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Questions Nobody is Asking, #2137 in a series

My Google skills are failing me.

I've tried a couple of times recently to find an answer to the question, 'How does Google Scholar decide what order to list your co-authors in?'

Clearly, it's not alphabetical.

It doesn't seem to be based on any of the six indices that are quoted for each academic: not total publications, or publications since year x, or h-index, or h-index since year x, or i10-index, or i10-index since year x.

It doesn't seem to depend on *when* we published together.

Or when my co-authors took ownership of their Google Scholar profile.

Or how often we have published together, or how well the publications we have *together* have been cited.

It doesn't fit with any indices divided by years since first publication, or when a co-author first published, or any simple combination of any of the above that I can think of.

The one thing I can be sure of is that it is linked to individual papers somehow,
And I was about to say, aha, it is something to do with the impact factor of where we first published together, since my last two co-authors I am only on conference papers or book chapters with; but that isn't going to work either.
I dunno. I expect it is some complex proprietary multi-factorial algorithm. Names never seem to move once they are in the list, so maybe it would make sense if I looked at the values of some parameter or other at the time a co-author was added to the list. Or else my basic observation skills and Google skills are equally weak lately and I need a holiday to be fit for mental work. Or - maybe it is totally random, so no one has to feel bad about being everybody's last listed co-author.