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Universiteitsbibliotheek – LibGuides

Google Scholar (EN): Get going

What is Google Scholar?

Google ScholarGoogle Scholar is a large and free multidisciplinary search engine for scientific articles (and to a lesser extent books). Important characteristics are the full text searchability of the articles and that the search engine is filled almost entirely automatically.

Google Scholar: select the right version!

Use Google Scholar with UBUlink. (via university library > electronic datbases). The UBUlink gives you access to electronic publications the library has paid for. Of course, Google Scholar is also included in our list of electronic databases.

Strong points

Compared to other article search engines, Google Scholar is a strong tool for finding:

  • a specific article of which you know the title
  • articles published in non-peer reviewed journals
  • articles from conference proceedings
  • articles that only have a slight bearing on your subject

5 tips for an effective use of Google Scholar

  1. Use Google Scholar with UBUlink
  2. Use lots of (specialist) search terms (see also the Libguide generating search terms LibGuide zoektermen. Your terms may also include an author's name if you have one
  3. Limit the search result to the  years of your choice
  4. Find related and sometimes more recent articles via the buttons cited by and related
  5. For Refwork users: check the settings of Google Scholar under   > show links to import citations into: Refworks)

What will you find with Google Scholar?

Your search results may contain:

  • references to articles
  • references to preprints and working papers
  • references to books (selection from Google Books)
  • rudimentary references ('CITATIONS') to cited articles or books
  • references to patents and legal documents (you can switch that off)

From Google Scholar to the full text

There are several ways to get access to the full text:

The easiest option: above the description

  • the title

If that does not help, in the right hand column:

  • Fulltext@UBUlink (the long UBUlink)
  • [PDF] or [DOC] or [HTML] link

As last option, below the description:

  • all versions link
  • UBUlink (the short UBUlink), under 'more' on the blue line with links

If Google can offer a direct [PDF], [DOC] or [HTML] link to the full text it sometimes does not show the UBU-link at all.


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Facts and figures

  • Type of contents: title data of scholarly articles and books
  • Period covered: all years
  • Size: 80-160 million
  • Disciplines covered: all
  • Default search method: AND
  • Searches the full text: yes
  • Default ranking: relevance (including the number of citations)
  • Searching  on word stem: not possible
  • Include synonyms with: ~ (does not work anymore!)
  • Provided by: Google

Why does Google Scholar show so many older papers?

Many searches give you predominantly papers that are 5-20 years old. This is caused by the hybrid ranking Google employs to sort the results, taking into account the number of times a paper was cited. Newer papers have had less time to accrue citations to them. To see the new papers, use the year filter options from the Google Scholar menu on the left of the screen.