Are there any valid alternatives to google scholar?

I am currently living in China. almost the whole internet is blocked, including Google. I tried to bypass the firewall, then google scholar tends to deny my access claiming that the traffic is suspicious.

Are there other valid alternatives to google scholar where I can easily search for random scientific papers from different fields and trace their citations Thanks!

  • 5
    you should change title to "... in china". Really surprising to me they block GS, even at chinese universities? Looks like huge disadvantage for chinese academia, as to my knowlegde other search engines like web of science or scopus only index the abstract, not full text of papers... Commented Jul 29, 2019 at 14:44
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    Microsoft versions of stuff typically works there (bing, skype, outlook). They also have something that looks like google scholar called microsoft academic. I'd expect it to work in china too. Commented Jul 29, 2019 at 14:50
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    It actually worked. Still, need to see how good it is... thannks!
    – gastro
    Commented Jul 29, 2019 at 15:09
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    Look into VPN services asap, otherwise you just can't work properly. Also check out shadowsocks servers. I was a postdoc in China for 2 years.
    – Scientist
    Commented Jul 30, 2019 at 0:50
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    @Scientist I think the OP is saying google is blocking their access through the VPN they tried. Also china continually adds VPN's to their blocked sites and the legality of using them is unclear, particularly if the OP is a chinese national. Plus the VPN's themselves may be risky to use. So one must be careful with such advice. Commented Jul 30, 2019 at 2:41

4 Answers 4


For a mirror of Google Scholar:


  • thanks, it worked even without a VPN! However, I can not trace the citation easily. Clicking "cited by" has no effect...
    – gastro
    Commented Jul 30, 2019 at 6:15
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    The only other thing I can suggest is that in my experience google scholar doesn't block all VPN traffic, so if there are alternative VPN servers available you may have better luck with them.
    – Bobgom
    Commented Aug 2, 2019 at 17:09

You might be able to use Tor to access Google Scholar, which can be downloaded with the following link: https://www.torproject.org/. You'll probably need a mirror to access it: https://mirror.oldsql.cc/tor/.

There is something called the Great Firewall of China that would need to be bypassed, though. Apparently, this can be done using obfsproxy. There is a paper on usenix that goes into much more detail about it in the Circumvention section of the paper. https://www.usenix.org/system/files/conference/foci12/foci12-final2.pdf

The benefit of using Tor is you would be able to access a lot more of the internet that is blocked off except for websites that block Tor nodes.

  • 1
    I wonder if we should really suggest doing something illegal here on Stack Exchange (even if myself and, I suspect, the vast majority of users strongly disagree with the law in this case).
    – xLeitix
    Commented Jul 30, 2019 at 12:26


This is the Google Scholar alternative.

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    Need to use keyword in Chinese for better results, as suggested by scaaahu, the mileage may vary.
    – user199
    Commented Jul 29, 2019 at 15:40
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    you are right, for Chinese maybe, for papers published in English, not that useful...
    – gastro
    Commented Jul 29, 2019 at 15:43

It is not China that blocks it, it is Google. China's autonomous routing domain drops in transit all requests to the top level domain "google.com". If you access google scholar through a private VPN on a server that belongs to almost any American company (e.g. Digital Ocean in my case), then google will block your IP because apparently they are afraid their "free" service will be mined for free by an industrial competitor:

We're sorry... ... but your computer or network may be sending automated queries. To protect our users, we can't process your request right now.

You got to use one of the lower quality free vpns on the phone with multiple rolling servers that use ips not flagged as commercial by Google. Beware though those free VPNs can scrape your personal sensitive data from your phone as well.

By the way you can still see your profile through the link

https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=your scholar account id

you just can't view who cited you or run any search.

Pity because I just want to check who is that one person who just cited one of my papers that I thought no one would ever cite...

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