Google Scholar: Wrong master record

Publish or Perish tutorial

No less than 19 versions of the same record

Many publications have multiple occurrences on the Web. For instance my 2009 article with Nancy Adler occurs no less than 19 times.


In nearly all cases, Google Scholar correctly identifies the most appropriate record – usually on the official publisher’s website – as the “master record” to which all citations are ascribed. In the first example, this is the website of the Academy of Management’s journal Academy of Management Learning & Education.

Sometimes Google Scholar gets it wrong, very wrong

However, in an estimated 2-3% of the publications, Google Scholar – for unknown reasons – “picks” the wrong record as master record, even if a more appropriate one is available. The article below occurs 15 times, but Google Scholar somehow picked the “worst” master record, a pdf on that when clicking on it provides a “404 file not found”.


A full-text pre-publication version of this article is available from no less than seven sources; even the published version is available from four different sources, including the publisher’s website (see below):


As a result of the wrongly attributed master record this publication appears in Google Scholar (and Publish or Perish) not only with the wrong title (the title was changed in the final revision), but also with the wrong publication year. Fortunately, these problems are rare, especially with journal articles published by mainstream publishers.

Support Publish or Perish

The development of the Publish or Perish software is a volunteering effort that has been ongoing since 2006. Download and use of Publish or Perish is and will remain free (gratis), but your support toward the costs of hosting, bandwidth, and software development are appreciated. Your support helps further development of Publish or Perish for new data sources and additional features.


PS: If you are using Publish or Perish on a regular basis, please take 5 minutes to provide me with some feedback.