We strive for being cited. We want to occupy the “references” sections of the scientific world. Google Scholar’s hit list is our red carpet.
However, many scientists spent too little time thinking about how to improve their rankings on search engine hit lists like Google Scholar. blog.scholarz.net even says papers which are not listed on Google Scholars do simply not exist for many researchers and will therefore never receive much attention. In their paper Academic Search Engine Optimization (ASEO): Optimizing Scholarly Literature for Google Scholar and Co., Jöran Beel, Bela Gipp, and Erik Wilde show how a scientific paper may be optimized for academic and regular search engines.
Very interesting is the discussion the authors include as their section 4 of the paper where they cite two reviewers expressing a critical attitude towards what the authors call “Academic Search Engine Optimization” (ASEO):
I’m not a big fan of this area of research […]. I know it’s in the call for papers, but I think that’s a mistake.
[This] paper seems to encourage scientific paper authors to learn Google scholar’s ranking method and write papers accordingly to boost ranking [which is not] acceptable to scientific communities which are supposed to advocate true technical quality/impact instead of ranking.
In my opinion, being interested in how (academic) search engines function and how scientific papers are indexed and, of course, responding to these… well… circumstances of the scientific citing business is just natural.
Moreover, the trouble is homemade: If scientists (that means: we) limit their (our) literature research basis to Google Scholar’s hit lists and do not set great store of in-depth research, digging, detective work, and being creative in finding the right papers to substantiate their own scientific findings and ideas they cut off their own noses to spite their faces. Its almost the same phenomenon as we know it from the “old” citing business: The more famous the author you cite is, the better is your citation and the scientific work supposed to be. So, in the course of time, more and more people cite less and less authors while the number of the citations taken from their papers keeps growing. And the higher the number of citations is, the more they will be cited.
Still, little wonders oftentimes hide in secret spaces… maybe on your trusted library’s dusty shelves, maybe in a references section of an unbeknown scientist’s paper, or even ranked 10’034th on Google Scholar’s hit list.