Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Google scholar question

Readers:  I suspect many of you are familiar with Google Scholar, Google's free approximation of what Thomson-Reuters offer for a fee.   Scholar is a nice tool for searching references, though as a Google product it uses something similar to their pagerank algorithm, meaning that it can heavily bias searches in favor of papers that have been highly cited (though this can be tweaked or avoided in many ways).

Google Scholar gives you the opportunity to create a public profile as well, so that people can see at a glance your publications and their citations, keywords that you choose to describe your research area, instantly calculated metrics such as citation counts and the h-index, etc.  (Some people like the Google Scholar h-index because it is systematically higher than the one from Thomson-Reuters, since it does a better job of catching bibliographic references in books and online resources.  That, and our culture of encapsulating complex things in single numbers biases us toward preferring higher numbers.)  I do have a profile, though I have mixed feelings about the score-keeping aspects of these things.

One reason I do have a profile is that Google Scholar has a feature that I've found interesting (if not necessarily useful) in the past:  Based on your papers, where they're being cited, your research interests, etc., every few days Google Scholar comes up with suggested literature that it lists under a "My Updates" tab on your profile.  These are new papers that either cite your work or Google's algorithm computes that you would likely be interested in the subject matter.

A month ago, I stopped receiving new "updates".  The most recent one that shows up in my queue is from January 31.  Moreover, when I look at my profile now, the "Co-authors" list, which previously had been populated automatically by Google Scholar based on my publications, is now completely empty.  As far as I know, I have made no changes to my profile or settings.  I have looked extensively and not found any reason why this should have changed.  I used the feedback link to ask Google Scholar support about this, to no avail so far.  I received an automated response with pieces of their FAQ list, and was told to reply to the email if that was not sufficient.  I did so several days ago, with no response yet.

Has anyone else had these issues?  Anyone have any suggestions for resolving this?  I don't really care about the "Co-author" bit as I don't use that for anything, but I actually liked the article updates.

Update:  The issue seems to have been fixed by Google!  Woo-hoo!

10 comments:

Vasilii Artyukhov said...

Just checked - my most recent update is 34 days ago! Looks like the service is being discontinued.

MattPatt said...

I have had the same "update" problem. If they're discontinuing it that's a shame, as I frequently found it useful (or at least interesting).

Gautam Menon said...

Yes, I'm seeing the same issues and was wondering about it.

sorcerer13 said...

I also face same issue. It is a pity if indeed they are discontinuing it.

Douglas Natelson said...

I have colleagues who still receive updates yet have empty coauthor fields, and vice versa. This appears to be a genuine issue on the google side. A friend of mine who works there has filed an internal issue report, so we'll see if anything happens.

Anonymous said...

i had issues with my citation count going up by 50 in a day because they added citations from papers published 10 years before any of mine! then they fixed in the next day, then it came back the next, then fixed again. They must me having issues with something...

DanM said...

I will ask my sibling who works at Google. An answer should be forthcoming in short order. Stay tuned.

Anonymous said...

After receiving no updates for more than a month, I suddenly started receiving them again yesterday. Behold the power of this blog!

MattPatt said...

Whoa, I just got a flood of updates.

Garima said...

GREAT