What does [citation] mean in Google scholar search results and why is it not clickable? I know there is also an option to include citations but I am not sure what that means? If something is cited is should exist somewhere.


[CITATION] Use of detergents in the analysis of fibrous feeds. IV. Determination of plant cell-wall constituents PJ Van Soest, RH Wine - J. Assoc. Off. Anal. Chem, 1967

  • 1
    I assume it is used to indicate an article that existed at one point but is now a dead link.
    – Compass
    Mar 12, 2015 at 16:29
  • That article is from 1967, so sure it exists somewhere, but not online if the publisher hasn't scanned the old archives
    – laika
    Mar 12, 2015 at 16:52
  • Sometimes I find these citations also for conference abstracts (they are cited in a paper but they are not available online)
    – laika
    Mar 12, 2015 at 16:53
  • @laika that is just one example, there are more recent papers that come up as citation, it's unclear what that means since every search result is a citation. Mar 12, 2015 at 18:15
  • 3
    There's a discussion of exactly this question in the help for Google Scholar at scholar.google.com/intl/en-US/scholar/help.html#general Mar 12, 2015 at 22:42

1 Answer 1


[Citation] means that Google Scholar has not been able to find a source for the publication, but that it has inferred that it exists because other publications cite it.

Taken directly from Google Scholar help "These are articles which other scholarly articles have referred to, but which we haven't found online. To exclude them from your search results, uncheck the "include citations" box on the left sidebar."

  • I find that remarkably weird, though, given that, just because the article exists and is cited by the other results, the search engine can list it as a result. See this results page. Is there a guarantee that if I track this article down, I will find information about the blank page?
    – Compass
    Mar 12, 2015 at 19:41
  • 1
    @Compass Big data is a a remarkable sausage-making machine that is both miraculous and a bit sloppy in operation: if you track the article down, you are quite likely to find such information, but there's a chance you won't.
    – jakebeal
    Mar 12, 2015 at 19:44

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