Email is a productivity killer. But, one kind of email I like to receive is from Google Scholar, alerting me of newly published research that is in conversation with my research, aka papers that cite my work.

a screenshot of emails from google scholar showing new citations to the author's research

I love this feature because it quickly allows me to

  • get a sense of how others are reacting to my work
  • track some of the literature surrounding my research interests (emphasis on some)
  • discover new authors
  • keep my never-ending “to read” list full

I’d love it even more if Google Scholar also

  • delivered all available papers in that same email (e.g., if there was a way that it would connect to my institutional library and retrieve them or just give me the open access ones)
  • kept an up-to-date spreadsheet of all citations that I could use for different purposes

It ought not need clarification, but to be clear: 1) citations don’t necessarily mean that one’s work is impactful or significant. What if they are all critical of the work?. 2) lack of citations doesn’t necessarily mean that a paper isn’t worthwhile or significant, as areas unrelated to the quality of the work often influence citations (e.g., timing)