January 22, 2022

Research Paper: “The Google Scholar Experiment: How to Index False Papers and Manipulate Bibliometric Indicators”

The following research paper has been accepted for publication in the Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology.


The Google Scholar Experiment: How to Index False Papers and Manipulate Bibliometric Indicators


Emilio Delgado López-Cózar
University of Granada, Spain 

Nicolás Robinson-García
University of Granada, Spain 

Daniel Torres-Salinas
University of Navarra, Spain


via arXiv (Posted on September 10, 2013)


Google Scholar has been well received by the research community. Its promises of free, universal and easy access to scientific literature as well as the perception that it covers better than other traditional multidisciplinary databases the areas of the Social Sciences and the Humanities have contributed to the quick expansion of Google Scholar Citations and Google Scholar Metrics: two new bibliometric products thatoffer citation data at the individual level and at journal level.

In this paper we show the results of a experiment undertaken to analyze Google Scholar’s capacity to detect citation counting manipulation. For this, six documents were uploaded to an institutional web domain authored by a false researcher and referencing all the publications of the members of the EC3 research group at the University of Granada. The detection of Google Scholar of these papers outburst the citations included in the Google Scholar Citations profiles of the authors. We discuss the effects of such outburst and how it could affect the future development of such products not only at individual level but also at journal level, [our emphasis] especially if Google Scholar persists with its lack of transparency.

Direct to Full Text Paper (18 pages; PDF)

See Also: From the Same Authors
Preprint: “Altmetrics: New Indicators for Scientific Communication in Web 2.0″

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.