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Google Scholar is manipulatable

arXiv preprint :2402.04607Google Scholar is manipulatable: “Citations are widely considered in scientists’ evaluation. As such, scientists may be incentivized to inflate their citation counts. While previous literature has examined self-citations and citation cartels, it remains unclear whether scientists can purchase citations. Here, we compile a dataset of ~1.6 million profiles on Google Scholar to examine instances of citation fraud on the platform. We survey faculty at highly-ranked universities, and confirm that Google Scholar is widely used when evaluating scientists. Intrigued by a citation-boosting service that we unravelled during our investigation, we contacted the service while undercover as a fictional author, and managed to purchase 50 citations. These findings provide conclusive evidence that citations can be bought in bulk, and highlight the need to look beyond citation counts.”

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