I have some papers for which I want to somehow download an easily manipulated (CSV, Excel) list of references and list of papers which cited the given paper.

On Google Scholar, one can see a "Cited By" option, but there is no way to download this list in bulk. Also, there is no option to get the list of references that the paper made. Although one can look at the paper itself for this information, I'd want a way to get these as a CSV or Excel.

Is there any way to do this?


Yes, use Web of Science (Thomson Reuter's) database called Cited Reference Searching. You can download a list of citations, which can be exported as *.csv. Here is a link showing some of the basic functionalities.

  • 2
    Of course, this will only capture citations in venues indexed by Web of Science (and therefore almost no computer science conferences).
    – JeffE
    Jun 9 '15 at 2:38
  • This is a good source, I actually came to the same conclusion. The only problem is that the database is missing many papers. This answer is good in and of itself, though. Thank you!
    – Ron
    Jun 12 '15 at 17:50

I am not aware of such functionality in existing online repositories at the present time. However, depending on your needs, skills and willingness to dedicate your time and efforts to such project, you can consider writing custom software, based on natural language processing (NLP) approaches, in particular information extraction, for parsing papers of interest - individually or in bulk - in order to extract their reference list information. I believe that it should be relatively easy to write such software, as the semantic complexity of reference list sections is relatively low. Having said that, I see some potential difficulties, related to the quality (consistency) of listed references in terms of content, formatting and publication style.

I think that using such software would be perfectly legal and ethical, as that part within each paper doesn't really represent an intellectual property or is copyrighted (please correct me, if I'm wrong).


As far as I know, RIS and BibTeX are the two standard file formats for moving references around. I store my references on Citeulike, which allows me to download them in either format -- I usually use BibTeX since I write my papers in LaTeX, but I know RIS is used to move references from Endnote to Zotero.

ISI Web of Knowledge and other citation trackers do allow you to export both the citations in a particular paper as well as the papers that cite it in RIS, BibTeX and tab-delimited formats (using RIS column names, oddly enough!), but I don't think Google Scholar has this functionality. You may have access to the Web of Knowledge through your institute's library.

  • Hi! Thanks for the information, but I'm not sure you understand my question. What I'm asking is: given a paper, can I download a file (CSV preferably) which contains a list of the references made in the paper, as well as other papers which cited that paper?
    – Ron
    Jun 9 '15 at 1:45
  • Ah, got it! ISI Web of Knowledge/Science will let you do this (I just tried this and it worked, but you may need to export page-by-page). I've updated my answer to reflect this, but Brian P beat me to Web of Science :)
    – Gaurav
    Jun 9 '15 at 3:18

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