, Volume 107, Issue 3, pp 1477–1487 | Cite as

Back to the past: on the shoulders of an academic search engine giant

  • Alberto Martín-Martín
  • Enrique Orduna-Malea
  • Juan M. Ayllón
  • Emilio Delgado López-CózarEmail author


A study released by the Google Scholar team found an apparently increasing fraction of citations to old articles from studies published in the last 24 years (1990–2013). To demonstrate this finding we conducted a complementary study using a different data source (Journal Citation Reports), metric (aggregate cited half-life), time spam (2003–2013), and set of categories (53 Social Science subject categories and 167 Science subject categories). Although the results obtained confirm and reinforce the previous findings, the possible causes of this phenomenon keep unclear. We finally hypothesize that “first page results syndrome” in conjunction with the fact that Google Scholar favours the most cited documents are suggesting the growing trend of citing old documents is partly caused by Google Scholar.


Google Scholar Journal Citation Reports Growth of science Science obsolescence Half-life indicator Academic search engines 


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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alberto Martín-Martín
    • 1
  • Enrique Orduna-Malea
    • 2
  • Juan M. Ayllón
    • 1
  • Emilio Delgado López-Cózar
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.EC3 Research GroupUniversidad de GranadaGranadaSpain
  2. 2.EC3 Research GroupPolytechnic University of ValenciaValenciaSpain

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