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My background is in physics where almost 100% of the scholarly work is reported in peer-reviewed publications. Within that framework, I understand how to determine who has priority regarding ideas, how influential a paper is, how prolific an author is, etc. at a glance by looking at publication dates, citations, impact factors, etc. Usually, the only books which are written are textbooks or those aimed at a popular audience.

My experience, though, is that not all fields are this heavily skewed toward peer-reviewed articles.

Question:

  • In fields that rely significantly on scholarly books, how can someone quickly determine the impact, reliability, etc. of scholarly books and scholars whose work appears primarily in books?
  • @ff524 Okay, cool. I have the first question just because I'm not sure my anecdotal experience is representative. But I suppose if I'm wrong someone will tell me off. I'll get rid of that bit and split the 3rd and 4th questions to separate posts. – Kevin Driscoll Oct 14 '15 at 5:54
  • (I think this confirms your anecdotal experience :)) – ff524 Oct 14 '15 at 6:02
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You can still check how widely the book is cited in academic literature (no matter, books, papers, reports, or conference papers) with the use of Google Scholar.

Warning. Google Scholar may be misleading sometimes because it indexes virtually anything that is claimed to be academic even if it doesn't belong there. Sometimes you may come across academic crooks. See for example this guy. More than a thousand citations. But if you check him in Scopus, you will find that he is only cited 5 (five!) times by papers in journals of some quality. So, be careful.

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