, Volume 93, Issue 3, pp 553–581 | Cite as

Counting citations in the field of business and management: why use Google Scholar rather than the Web of Science

  • Nabil AmaraEmail author
  • Réjean Landry


Research assessment carries important implications both at the individual and institutional levels. This paper examines the research outputs of scholars in business schools and shows how their performance assessment is significantly affected when using data extracted either from the Thomson ISI Web of Science (WoS) or from Google Scholar (GS). The statistical analyses of this paper are based on a large survey data of scholars of Canadian business schools, used jointly with data extracted from the WoS and GS databases. Firstly, the findings of this study reveal that the average performance of B scholars regarding the number of contributions, citations, and the h-index is much higher when performances are assessed using GS rather than WoS. Moreover, the results also show that the scholars who exhibit the highest performances when assessed in reference to articles published in ISI-listed journals also exhibit the highest performances in Google Scholar. Secondly, the absence of association between the strength of ties forged with companies, as well as between the customization of the knowledge transferred to companies and research performances of B scholars such as measured by indicators extracted from WoS and GS, provides some evidence suggesting that mode 1 and 2 knowledge productions might be compatible. Thirdly, the results also indicate that senior B scholars did not differ in a statistically significant manner from their junior colleagues with regard to the proportion of contributions compiled in WoS and GS. However, the results show that assistant professors have a higher proportion of citations in WoS than associate and full professors have. Fourthly, the results of this study suggest that B scholars in accounting tend to publish a smaller proportion of their work in GS than their colleagues in information management, finance and economics. Fifthly, the results of this study show that there is no significant difference between the contributions record of scholars located in English language and French language B schools when their performances are assessed with Google Scholar. However, scholars in English language B schools exhibit higher citation performances and higher h-indices both in WoS and GS. Overall, B scholars might not be confronted by having to choose between two incompatible knowledge production modes, but with the requirement of the evidence-based management approach. As a consequence, the various assessment exercises undertaken by university administrators, government agencies and associations of business schools should complement the data provided in WoS with those provided in GS.


Contributions record Citations h-index ISI Google Scholar Business scholars 



The authors would like to acknowledge financial assistance provided by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. We also would like to thank all the faculty members of Canadian business schools who participated in our survey. Finally, we would like to thank the reviewers for their very helpful comments.


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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of BusinessLaval UniversityQuebec CityCanada

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