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Google Scholar: Critiques

Connect to Google Scholar through RRU and get tips and tricks for improving your searches.


Google Scholar is a great tool, but its not perfect.

Some concerns scholars and librarians have expressed include:

  • Google does not publish a list of journals it tracks, so there is no way to know what journals or other resources are included in Google Scholar
  • Google use algorithms to recognize what documents seem scholarly, so Google Scholar contains some information of questionable authority
  • Because the underlying index in Google Scholar is created by computer programs, there are many errors in terms of authorship, date, and publication title
  • The relevancy algorithm is relatively primitive by Google standards, which makes it quite vulnerable to spam

When using Google Scholar, you need to be extremely critical about the information you find. For more help with this, see our Evaluating your sources guide.