January 23, 2022

New Working Paper: “Manipulating Google Scholar Citations and Google Scholar Metrics: Simple, Easy and Tempting”

Are the results of the research a real surprise? No. Google and other general open-web search engines are manipulated (aka gamed) all the time. It’s the nature of the beat and while the search engine industry works hard to control it, it’s a non-stop game of cat and mouse.

Nevertheless, this research that focuses on a specific Google database that utilizes open web material. It’s a very interesting read. We think it’s something you might want to know about.


Manipulating Google Scholar Citations and Google Scholar Metrics: Simple, Easy and Tempting


Emilio Delgado López-Cózar
University of Granada, Spain

Nicolás Robinson-García
University of Granada, Spain

Daniel Torres-Salinas
Universidad de Navarra, Spain


via arXiv


The launch of Google Scholar Citations and Google Scholar Metrics may provoke a revolution in the research evaluation field as it places within every researchers reach tools that allow bibliometric measuring. In order to alert the research community over how easily one can manipulate the data and bibliometric indicators offered by Google s products we present an experiment in which we manipulate the Google Citations profiles of a research group through the creation of false documents that cite their documents, and consequently, the journals in which they have published modifying their H index. For this purpose we created six documents authored by a faked author and we uploaded them to a researcher s personal website under the University of Granada’s domain. The result of the experiment meant an increase of 774 citations in 129 papers (six citations per paper) increasing the authors and journals H index. We analyse the malicious effect this type of practices can cause to Google Scholar Citations and Google Scholar Metrics. Finally, we conclude with several deliberations over the effects these malpractices may have and the lack of control tools these tools offer

Direct to Full Text (10 pages; PDF)

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.