18 Google Scholar tips all students should know

11. Sign up for Google Scholar alerts.

Want to stay up to date on a specific topic? Create an alert for a Google Scholar search for your topics and you’ll get email updates similar to Google Search alerts. Another way to keep up with research in your area is to follow new articles by leading researchers. Go to their profiles and click “Follow.” If you’re a junior grad student, you may consider following articles related to your advisor’s research topics, for instance.

12. Save interesting articles to your library.

It’s easy to go down fascinating rabbit hole after rabbit hole in Google Scholar. Don’t lose track of your research and use the save option that pops up under search results so articles will be in your library for later reading.

13. Keep your library organized with labels.

Labels aren’t only for Gmail! You can create labels within your Google Scholar library so you can keep your research organized. Click on “My library,” and then the “Manage labels…” option to create a new label.

14. If you’re a researcher, share your research with all your colleagues.

Many research funding agencies around the world now mandate that funded articles should become publicly free to read within a year of publication — or sooner. Scholar profiles list such articles to help researchers keep track of them and open up access to ones that are still locked down. That means you can immediately see what is currently available from researchers you’re interested in and how many of their papers will soon be publicly free to read.

15. Look through Scholar’s annual top publications and papers.

Every year, Google Scholar releases the top publications based on the most-cited papers. That list (available in 11 languages) will also take you to each publication’s top papers — this takes into account the “h index,” which measures how much impact an article has had. It’s an excellent place to start a research journey as well as get an idea about the ideas and discoveries researchers are currently focused on.

16. Get even more specific with Advanced Search.

Click on the hamburger icon on the upper left-hand corner and select Advanced Search to fine-tune your queries. For example, articles with exact words or a particular phrase in the title or articles from a particular journal and so on.

17. Find extra help on Google Scholar’s help page.

It might sound obvious, but there’s a wealth of useful information to be found here — like how often the database is updated, tips on formatting searches and how you can use your library subscriptions when you’re off-campus (looking at you, college students!). Oh, and you’ll even learn the origin of that quote on Google Scholar’s home page.

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