How Different Are Johnson and Wang? Documenting Discrepancies in the Records of Ethnic Scholars in Scopus

Trang Pham
Issues in Informing Science and Information Technology  •  Volume 21  •  2024  •  pp. 004
This study captures and describes the discrepancies in the performance matrices of comparable Chinese and American scholars as recorded by Scopus.

The contributions of Chinese scholars to the global knowledge enterprise are increasing, whereas indexing bibliometric databases (e.g., Scopus) are not optimally designed to track their names and record their work precisely.

Coarsened exact matching was employed to construct two samples of comparable Chinese and American scholars in terms of gender, fields of work, educational backgrounds, experience, and workplace. Under 200 scholars, around a third being Chinese and the rest American scholars, were selected through this data construction method. Statistical tests, including logit regressions, Poisson regression, and fractional response models, were applied to both samples to measure and verify the discrepancies stored within their Scopus accounts.

This study complicates the theory of academic identity development, especially on the intellectual strand, as it shows ethnic scholars may face more errors in how their track records are stored and presented. This study also provides inputs for the discussion of algorithmic discrimination from the academic context and to the scientific community.

This paper finds that Chinese scholars are more prone to imprecise records in Scopus (i.e., more duplicate accounts, a higher gap between the best-statistic accounts, and the total numbers of publications and citations) than their American counterparts. These findings are consistent across two samples and with different statistical tests.

Recommendations for Practitioners.
This paper suggests practitioners and administrators at research institutions treat scholars’ metrics presented in Scopus or other bibliometric databases with caution while evaluating ethnic scholars’ contributions.

Recommendations for Researchers.
Scholars and researchers are suggested to dedicate efforts to monitoring their accounts on indexing bibliometric platforms.

Impact on Society.
This paper raises awareness of the barriers that ethnic scholars face in participating in the scientific community and being recognized for their contributions.

Future Research.
Future research can be built on this paper by expanding the size of the analytical samples and extending similar analyses on comparable data harvested from other bibliometric platforms.
ethnic scholars, bibliometric data, research performance, Chinese vs. American scholars
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