Today, I will talk about signs that show that something is wrong or suspicious with some researchers based on their Google Scholar profiles. I will talk about this because I have recently received many CVs and while browsing Google Scholar, and I found some very suspicious profiles.
Normal Google scholar profiles
First, lets talk about what is a normal Google Scholar profile. Generally, a normal Google scholar profile shows a slow increase in the number of citations over time, and sometimes it will stagnates or decrease towards the end of the career of a researcher. Here are some examples of normal profiles:
And sometimes, the citations are increasing a bit more quickly due to some great contributions, but still the curve is quite smooth:
Abnormal Google scholar profiles (case 1)
Now let’s talk about some abnormal Google Scholar profiles. Let’s look at a first example:
What is wrong? Well, here we have a researcher that received 500 citations in 2017, and then about 20 citations in 2018, before going back to 400 citations per year in 2021. I don’t see any logical explanation that would explain a big drop like this other than citation manipulation. Even if we assume that the person did not publish any papers for two years, papers should still continue to be cited. So it seems to indicate that there is some manipulation of the citations that has been done.
Abnormal Google scholar profiles (case 2)
A third example is even more suspicious. Someone who had 1406 citations in 2017 suddenly dropped to 84 citations per year in 2018. I cannot see any reason for this other than some manipulations of citations.
Abnormal Google scholar profiles (case 3)
And here is another suspicious Google Scholar profiles.
Again, why would citations drop like this and never go up again? There is no logical reason other than citation manipulation.
I wrote this blog post to show that the Google Scholar Profiles can reveal many interesting things. Some profiles clearly show something abnormal. I will not write any names. That is not the point of this blog post. My goal is just to show that suspicious behavior can be easily detected in Google Scholar.
For young researcher, my advice is to always be honest, focus on the quality of papers rather than quantity, and do not try to cheat. To become a good researcher, it is important to build a good reputation and this start by doing quality work, being honest and following the rules.
Hope that this has been interesting. If you have any comments, please leave them in the comment section below.