Thursday, 19 March 2020


Ale Ebrahim, Nader; Yusop, Farrah Dina; Ghaffar, Fauza Ab; Danaee, Mahmoud; Firdaus, Amira; Azah Hamzaid, Nur; et al. (2020): TWO DECADES OF RESEARCH ON EARLY CAREER FACULTIES (ECFs): A BIBLIOMETRIC ANALYSIS OF TRENDS ACROSS REGIONS. figshare. Journal contribution.

Monday, 9 March 2020

Researchers appearing in Google Knowledge Graph/panel - drawing data from Google Scholar profiles.


In a 2012, blog post titled - Introducing the Knowledge Graph: things, not strings, Google announced that they would be augmenting Google results not just with links but also results from the Google Knowledge Graph.

By now almost everyone would be familiar with the idea (if not how exactly it works) where searches for people, places, companies and various concepts would occasionally result in a call-out section with information drawn from the Google Knowledge graph appearing on the right hand side of the results page - this call out section is what is referred to as a Google Knowledge Panel.

Stephen Hawking entry appearing in the Google Knowledge Panel (drawn partly from Wikipedia)

It has always been unclear what is included by Google in their Knowledge Graph , though we are told they draw from sources like CIA Worldbook, Freebase, Wikipedia and more recently Wikidata.

What sources cause a researcher to appear in the Knowledge Panel? Wikipedia, Google books & others

Given the importance of Google, getting included in the Google Knowledge Graph and appearing in Google Knowledge panel is obviously a very desirable thing. But how does this happen?

It's fair to say that it is well known having a Wikipedia page of your own, would almost certainly guarantee you an appearance in Google Knowledge Panel. (You can tell because those entries have a link to Wikipedia in the description)

So most professors and researchers would appear if they had a Wikipedia page. In my testing it seems even having a Wikipedia page that is basically a stub is enough.

Of course, with the notability standards in Wikipedia, it isn't easy to just create an entry in Wikipedia. But is there an easier way?

I've also seen entries appearing that seem related to authorship of books. Here's Marshall Breeding. You can tell some of the data comes from Google books by the Google Books link.

Clicking on any book entry gets you a knowledge panel for the book.

Other Librarian examples to try are Ned Potter.

I've also seen entries that merge results from Google books and Wikipedia. 

Wikipedia and Google books seem to be the most common sources I see Google draw from, though I have seen rarer examples such as details drawn from Google Sites or even institution profile pages.

Entries are also drawn from Google Scholar Profiles!

A couple of days ago, I saw a tweet from Lisa Hinchliffe saying she has a Google Knowledge Panel. My reaction at the time was , well she is certainly famous enough to be worthy of inclusion and promptly forgot about it.

The next day, I was buying something via Amazon while logged-in to my Google account and I googled myself to double check certain details in my contacts (when you are logged-in to Google, it will show private information only seen by you - drawing from gmail,google contacts etc).

I almost missed it,but then I saw my photo appear with my profile. To confirm it wasn't due to me being logged-in I did it in incognito mode - and it still was there!

Inverting the name and searching with Tay, Aaron works as well, but not with my legal name Tay Chee Hsien, Aaron.

Search with inverted name , surfaces a link to the Google Knowledge entry

Looking closely at the listed details like affiliation, Research interests, publications listed below (in carousel display) and the linked Google Scholar profile it was easy to see a lot of the data was most likely drawn from my Google Scholar profile. The link to the GS profile is of course another big hint.

My Google Scholar profile

This seems to be a fairly new thing, as most of the researchers who I have seen in Google Knowledge panels prior to this do not have a Google Scholar profile link, nor the list of publications. 

Lots of questions still remains

My first thought was Google is now feeding all entries from Google Scholar profiles into Google Knowledge Graphs! But testing with various accounts showed that while having a Google Scholar profile was a necessary condition for such entries to appear, it wasn't a sufficient condition.
As of now, I can't see any logic on why some people with Google Scholar profiles are promoted and others are not. It probably isn't based on H-index or total citations in Google Scholar profiles since there are so many researcher profiles with high counts in Google Scholar that aren't appearing in Google. 
Another mystery was how did Google know what my Facebook and Twitter accounts were? Given I have a fairly complete Google account, they have gotten it from there, or has others have suggested it is because I have Wikidata entry but I doubt it since in Wikidata I use my full legal name. (Sidenote the notability standards of Wikidata is lower than Wikipedia.)
Also playing around with other names, I noticed researchers who have their H-index and citations (from Google Scholar profile) listed as well as more social media profiles such as Linkedin, Youtube listed.
It's curious my own entry lacks a H-index and total citation despite it knowing my GS profile. 
My guess is Google doesn't know I am a researcher because I don't have a researcher tag (or any tag) below my name for unknown reasons and as such it doesn't display my H-index. 
Some examples I have seen tag the person as a "professor" or "author" and if it can merge the Google Scholar profile, the H-index is surfaced as well.
Indeed the most complete profiles I have seen, draw information from Wikipedia, Google books and Google Scholar profiles. 

What things can you do once you are included?

Once your profile and characteristics of you are included in the Google Knowledge graph, quite nifty tricks can be performed. 
Chief among them is to do Q&A type questions via Google assistant. 
For example, below I tried asking Google Assistant what is the H-index of Nader ale Ebrahim and it was able to correctly respond with 25, because it was available in Google Knowledge Graph!
Or try Publication
Another example below where Google knowledge graph entries on Marshall breeding allows you to ask for books he wrote in 2010.


I have talked about helping researchers systematically improving their visibility  and it doesn't get bigger than appearing in a Google Knowledge panel.
Unfortunately, at this point, there are more questions than answers, and I do not know why some researchers who have Google Scholar profiles are appearing, while others equally or more eminent are not. but I am going ahead to claim my knowledge panel to see what else I can do.
Looking around it seems that music artists have also started been listed in Google Knowledge Panels (linking to profiles from Youtube, Spotify etc) and as always the same question is asked , how do I get listed? 
Nobody really knows, except the general advice seems to be to get as much content as possible out there on as many different platforms as possible all with the same name.

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