Evaluating author name disambiguation for digital libraries: a case of DBLP

Author name ambiguity in a digital library may affect the findings of research that mines authorship data of the library. This study evaluates author name disambiguation in DBLP, a widely used but insufficiently evaluated digital library for its disambiguation performance. In doing so, this study takes a triangulation approach that author name disambiguation for a digital library can be better evaluated when its performance is assessed on multiple labeled datasets with comparison to baselines. Tested on three types of labeled data containing 5000 to 6 M disambiguated names, DBLP is shown to assign author names quite accurately to distinct authors, resulting in pairwise precision, recall, and F1 measures around 0.90 or above overall. DBLP's author name disambiguation performs well even on large ambiguous name blocks but deficiently on distinguishing authors with the same names. Compared to other disambiguation algorithms, DBLP's disambiguation performance is quite competitive, possibly due to its hybrid disambiguation approach combining algorithmic disambiguation and manual error correction. A discussion follows on strengths and weaknesses of labeled datasets used in this study for future efforts to evaluate author name disambiguation on a digital library scale.