When different persons have an identical author name. How frequent are homonyms?
Article first published online: 9 JAN 2008
© 2008 ASIS&T
Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology
Volume 59, Issue 5, pages 838–841, March 2008
How to Cite
Aksnes, D. W. (2008), When different persons have an identical author name. How frequent are homonyms?. J. Am. Soc. Inf. Sci., 59: 838–841. doi: 10.1002/asi.20788
- Issue published online: 22 FEB 2008
- Article first published online: 9 JAN 2008
- Manuscript Received: 20 NOV 2007
- Manuscript Accepted: 19 OCT 2007
- Manuscript Revised: 18 OCT 2007
The phenomenon that different persons may have the same author name (homonymy) represents a major problem for publication analysis at individual levels and for retriving publications based on author names more generally. In such cases, all publications from the persons sharing the name will be collected in search results. This makes it difficult to provide a true picture of a researcher's publication output. The present study examines how frequent homonyms occur in a population of more than 30,000 individuals. The population represents the entire set of research personell in Norway. It is found that 14% of the persons share their author name with one or more other individuals. For the remaining 86% there is a one-to-one correspondence. Thus, for the large majority of persons, homonyms do not represent a problem. In the final part of the article, potential practical applications of these findings are given particular attention.