Estimating the Number of Entrepreneurship Scholars Using Google Scholar
One of the enduring questions in my mind has always been “how many people study entrepreneurship?” I came into the field early enough that I knew a lot of the Americans studying entrepreneurship. Back then a big lecture hall could hold us all.
But the field has grown and as it has grown worldwide, the numbers have become more elusive. Consider these (all numbers are based on 3-16-21 figures):
The Babson College Entrepreneurship Research Conference has a mailing list of 4900
The Entrepreneurship Division of the Academy of Management lists 3121 members out of 16486
USASBE has about 800 members.
Of course, in both cases, these are paid members, which might be a barrier. For example, ICSB has about 70 subscribers (which is free) for every paid membership. One way to find to get a sense of our field’s numbers, and do so in a transparent way, is to use Google Scholar (GS). GS builds citations based on any mention in their search domain. This includes published papers in journals, but also mentions in other sorts of documents. GS lets people create profiles, and connect them to their discipline (e.g. entrepreneurship) and institution (in my case Saint Louis University). So what does the field of entrepreneurship look like if you use this approach?
I did a check on 3/16/21. The field on that day consisted of 8729 people. In terms of citations, here is how it broke-down:
100,000 citations or more: 3
10,000 citations or more: 173
1,000 citations or more: 1218
100 citations or more: 3710
10 citations or more: 6258
1 citation or more: 7772
0 citations or more: 8729*
* This will change, but a fast way to find the total count is to start on the last page. This is the last page as of 3-20-21. You may need to keep scrolling as time goes on.
I get asked by entrepreneurship scholars every now and then about how big the field is. I’ve usually said about 5,000 people, but clearly it is bigger than that. Note that related disciplines have their pages, and GS counts each separately, e.g. family business (555 people), social entrepreneurship (696), small business (258), etc., so the number for “entrepreneurship writ large” will be much bigger, but a project for another day.
BTW, if you have some expertise at flogging Google Scholar for analyses like these, I’d love to hear from you. Reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I used the same brute-force technique to check out my own university's Google Scholar presence. Here were the findings (as of 3-17-21):
100,000 citations or more: 1
10,000 citations or more: 10
1,000 citations or more: 159
100 citations or more: 362
10 citations or more: 481
1 citation or more: 526
0 citations or more: 546
Based on SLU's own count there are 2348 faculty members as of 3-17-21. Note that GS lists by name and associated institution, so GS counts will include graduate students who are publishing or get mentioned.