International Journal on Digital Libraries

, Volume 16, Issue 3–4, pp 229–246 | Cite as

On the combination of domain-specific heuristics for author name disambiguation: the nearest cluster method

  • Alan Filipe Santana
  • Marcos André GonçalvesEmail author
  • Alberto H. F. Laender
  • Anderson A. Ferreira


Author name disambiguation has been one of the hardest problems faced by digital libraries since their early days. Historically, supervised solutions have empirically outperformed those based on heuristics, but with the burden of having to rely on manually labeled training sets for the learning process. Moreover, most supervised solutions just apply some type of generic machine learning solution and do not exploit specific knowledge about the problem. In this article, we follow a similar reasoning, but in the opposite direction. Instead of extending an existing supervised solution, we propose a set of carefully designed heuristics and similarity functions, and apply supervision only to optimize such parameters for each particular dataset. As our experiments show, the result is a very effective, efficient and practical author name disambiguation method that can be used in many different scenarios. In fact, we show that our method can beat state-of-the-art supervised methods in terms of effectiveness in many situations while being orders of magnitude faster. It can also run without any training information, using only default parameters, and still be very competitive when compared to these supervised methods (beating several of them) and better than most existing unsupervised author name disambiguation solutions.


Name disambiguation Supervised methods Heuristics 



This research is funded by INWeb (CNPq grant 57.3871/2008-6) and by the authors’ individual grants from CNPq, CAPES, and FAPEMIG.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alan Filipe Santana
    • 1
  • Marcos André Gonçalves
    • 1
    Email author
  • Alberto H. F. Laender
    • 1
  • Anderson A. Ferreira
    • 2
  1. 1.Departamento de Ciência da ComputaçãoUniversidade Federal de Minas GeraisBelo HorizonteBrazil
  2. 2.Departamento de ComputaçãoUniversidade Federal de Ouro PretoOuro PretoBrazil

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