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Google Scholar

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


Google Scholar is a great tool, but it's 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
  • Google Scholar is heavily biased towards English-language material
  • 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 and SEO manipulation

Want to learn more? Here are a couple of review articles discussing some of these drawbacks in more detail:

Evaluating what you find

Our recommendation? Use Google Scholar, by all means! There's simply no other tool out there that is as comprehensive and effective at scanning and surfacing items from across the scholarly landscape. But it is absolutely essential to think critically about the information you find. Consider the author, the publisher, and the content of each resource carefully.

For more help with this, see our Evaluating your sources guide. You can also ask the Library for help if you're not certain about the credibility of a particular resource.