Harzing’s Publish or Perish is intended for users involved in academic jobs. The idea behind the program is to help them demonstrate the impact of their research, in case they are applying for new posts. However, what it does specifically is to retrieve citations from Google Scholar, Microsoft Academic Search, Crossref, Web of Science and Scopus which are then processed according to various types of metrics that enable to assess their impact.
The program has a nice, yet quite Spartan, interface. Fortunately, it is easy to start a new query by entering data about a given publication, such as author, publication, year and keywords. Then, the application requests to the selected online database and organizes the results. After processing the retrieved data, the tool displays multiple useful publication impact metrics, like Hirsch’s h-index and contemporary h-index, Egghe's g-index. Likewise, you can use to know the total number of papers and citations, the average number of citations per paper or author and the number of authors per paper.
The results can be seen directly from your computer screen or exported to many other formats, including but not limited to Excel, CVS, BibTex, ISI, WoS, and APA. Similarly, they can be copied and paste into other programs via the clipboard.
When I tried the program, I first had some problems because it needs to validate Google Scholar. Then, the selected site started denying the services because it identified the requests as being made by a robot. The solution was to decrease the maximum request rate per minute to make it feel more natural. The inconvenience of this alternative is that it takes longer for the program to get all the necessary data.
In short, Harzing’s Publish and Perish is a unique program with a very specific purpose, which does not mean it cannot be extremely helpful. I personally think it is a great help not only for assessing the impact of my research work but also that of other authors that I intend to cite. Logically, understanding the meaning of all those statistics require studying them, and fortunately, the product’s documentation contains information about citation metrics. Finally, it is important to say that the program is absolutely free.