Jacob J. Walker's Blog

Scholarly Thoughts, Research, and Journalism for Informal Peer Review

Petition to Open Google Scholar to Automated Queries and Release its API

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As I just posted, Google Scholar blocked me yesterday from doing searches, because I was doing legitimate meta-research about the philosophy of ubuntu, and tried to import citation information for 100 articles into Zotero.  Am I now a criminal, like they accused Aaron Swartz of being for him breaking JSTOR’s Terms of Use, because I might have broken Google’s Terms of Use? (which I don’t think I ever agreed to, but I’m not sure.)

Scholars are not criminals; yet as the case against Aaron Swartz shows, current U.S. law combined with poorly written Terms of Use, can make it interpreted that all of us who use Zotero or other citation managers with Google Scholar could potentially be prosecuted as felons, even if Google never asks for that prosecution (remember, JSTOR asked for Aaron Swartz to not be prosecuted.)   This of course is ludicrous and seems unbelievable, but the case against Aaron Swartz was very real, as were the consequences.

As academics and scholars, we must stand up for our rights, and let Google  know why it is critical that they have appropriate Terms of Use.  This means that we need to encourage Google to not only allow appropriate automated queries for meta-research and other sorts of research that needs to bring in large amount of citation information.   Further, if Google really wants to help scholars stand on the shoulders of giants, it will take a step further, and release its Google Scholar API so that scholars can have better access to data and which will facilitate innovative research.

Here is a short petition to encourage Google to change.   You are welcome to add your own comments, before it is sent.  Please Note: A confirmation email will be sent to you before the email petition is sent.  Also, by signing in the petition you are giving me your email address.  I will not sell any of these addresses or use them in any way that does not relate to the petition.  I may send updates about the petition and any results that may come from it to people who have signed the petition.

Petition to Open Google Scholar to Automated Queries and Release its API

Dear Google Scholar Development Team,


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Written by Jacob Walker

February 10th, 2013 at 2:05 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response to 'Petition to Open Google Scholar to Automated Queries and Release its API'

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  1. Simon

    26 Aug 13 at 7:09 am

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