In Google Scholar, I want to create a compound alert, which returns papers that are relevant to two concepts. Concept 1 is all about a branch of machine learning, which can be triggered by the words "deep learning" and "neural network". Concept 2 is all about a branch of robotics, which can be triggered by the words "navigation" and "localisation". Furthermore, the article must definitely include the word "robot".

How should I express this as a single alert?

I know that an AND is implicit, such that:

"navigation" "localisation"

will only return articles which contain both those words.

I also know that an OR can be define, for example:

"navigation" OR "localisation"

will return articles which have either of these words.

But in my case, it is more complex. I basically want to say:

("deep learning" OR "neural network") AND ("navigation" OR "localisation")  AND "robot"

These brackets are just to illustrate what I want to achieve, but I'm sure that they're not interpreted in this way by Google Scholar.

Any ideas? Thanks!

Edit: My current solution is to just have four separate alerts:

"deep learning" AND "navigation" AND "robot"
"deep learning" AND "localisation" AND "robot"
"neural network" AND "navigation" AND "robot"
"neural network" AND "localisation" AND "robot"

However, most of these papers are triggered by three or four of the conditions, and it is very frustrating getting several emails for each one! So I am hoping that there is a way to express this all with a single alert.

  • 1
    Would this question be better on a Google support forum? Off-topic here?
    – G-E
    Nov 1, 2016 at 17:15
  • 2
    Have you actually tried your sample query? As far as I can tell, it should work.
    – ff524
    Nov 4, 2016 at 1:03

3 Answers 3


I think what you're looking for is a Google Scholar Alert for

+"robot" +("deep learning" OR "neural network") +("navigation" OR "localisation")

Google search operators include "OR", "-" and "+", and permit brackets, but do not use "AND".

Fun fact: The order of the terms will change the order of results (and content of previews). That matters if the hits exceed the number permitted by your alert.


If you have an academic access, I recommend Scopus. It will let you do searches as complicated as you want, sorts results by new (default, so you might not even need an alert) and lets you set up alerts or an RSS feed. Its search feature is much more advanced and thorough than google scholar's!

It has two main downsides: you need an academic access, and downloading pdfs is more cumbersome than with google scholar.


Run the following search: https://scholar.google.com/scholar?as_ylo=2016&q=%22deep+learning%22+OR+%22neural+network%22+AND+%22navigation%22+OR+%22localisation%22++AND+%22robot%22

I tuned it to include results only since 2016, and specifically scholarly articles. Google advanced search also lets you play around with a fair few options.

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