I've recently seen a few PhD theses that cite work by our lab, but these citations don't seem to be included in Google Scholar despite the fact that the theses themselves are listed as a publication by the authors. Are these citations excluded? If so, why?

  • 2
    Google needs to be able to access the thesis electronically. If it is openly available as a pdf online this helps a lot.
    – Simd
    Oct 20, 2016 at 12:48
  • The theses I mentioned were indexed by Google Scholar in 2015 and link to a PDF
    – dsfgsho
    Oct 20, 2016 at 12:52
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    @JonCuster Google scholar seems to index everything that can't hide in a tree and vaguely looks like a scientific paper. I've seen slides of talks indexed and also lists of books and paper indexed that are not bibliographies but just a catalog of books and papers…
    – Dirk
    Oct 20, 2016 at 17:29
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    Hi, I think that it might be possible that Google Scholar isn't indexing the cited references in those theses because theses tend to be large documents, and Google Scholar declares they don't index files that exceed 5MB. Could you point me to some of these theses? I'd be interested in checking them out (I'm interested in this kind of technical details about Google Scholar).
    – alberto
    Oct 21, 2016 at 22:13
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    I have direct evidence that, at least in some cases, citations in a thesis will be computed, also for large documents. The version of my thesis available online is over 13 MB (cora.ucc.ie/handle/10468/1344). In it I obviously cite several papers. The Google Scholar citation records for those papers correctly show the citations appearing in my thesis (at least for those I checked).
    – Miguel
    Nov 27, 2016 at 13:23

1 Answer 1


My own PhD thesis has been indexed, but the citations in it haven't, while the citations in other theses published at the same time have been indexed long ago.

I suspect the reason of this is the fancy cover page of my thesis, which doesn't match the document format expected by Google Scholar. For instance, the title should usually be the first line of text in the document.

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