caro thinks

bring back the google scholar button, 2015/07/06:13:05

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It's Back

and it's better than ever!

Drag this link:
to your browser's bookmarks bar.
For Android, see below.

And this link replaces the Web button.
in progress

The Scholar Button is Back

and it's better than ever!

Drag this link:
to your browser's bookmarks bar.

For Android, see below.


If you landed here looking for a google scholar button, I don't have to convince you of its inherent awesomeness. Just click-n-drag it to the bookmarks bar of your browser and use it exactly the way you did in the good ol' days before google took the button away from you. Put it in the spot of your choice. I put mine at the left end of my bookmarks bar, so that it is directly above where google's "Web" button appears in their search results. Cheers!

If you don't yet know why anyone needs a Scholar button, you may be in for a happy surprise. Most people aren't even aware that exists.

The best way for you to understand what this bookmarklet does is to go do a google search right now. See those buttons under the search box that say "Web" "Shopping" "Images", etc? There used to be another button there. It said, "Scholar". That button took the words from the search you just did, and gave you a list of research papers instead of links to ordinary web sites. Try this with your current setup: Go to this page:

and enter a few words. You'll see a list of academic publications that contain those words. Next, find the "Web" button in the upper left corner of the results page, and click it. Notice that the new search is done in, and the results are not academic papers, but links to web sites like Wikipedia,, Huffington Post, fan sites, whatever. Now, add a few more terms to the search box and do another search. What if you don't find anything useful, and you'd now like to return to Scholar to find something more indepth? Sorry, you'll have to copy and paste your search terms. Doing that once as an experiment is no big deal. Now try doing it many times a day for a few weeks.

The ability to flip back and forth between regular Google and Scholarly Google is incredibly useful and convenient. Because there was both a "Web" button and a "Scholar" button on every search results page, it was easy to do a Web search, click Scholar, add more search terms to and/or remove some terms from my original query, click Web again when I needed more basic information on those same search terms, click Scholar again....etc, etc. When google removed the Scholar button, this simple flipping back and forth was no longer possible. The alternative is cumbersome, slow, and rather distracting to people actively pursuing a research lead.

Until now, my solution to the disappearance of the Scholar button was to make my DEFAULT SEARCH ENGINE. I type my query into the search box, and I get scholar results, even if I was searching for a place to purchase plant fertilizer wholesale. From there it is easy enough to click the "Web" button. It adds an extra step to my normal web searches, but it makes my academic research so much easier that it has been worth it to me. Nevertheless, it is not an ideal solution. Hence my new Scholar button.

It is noteworthy that google DOES supply a scholar button, to this day. You can see that button if you go to The button is not at all useful to people who are already on the page. All it does is reload the page WITHOUT your search terms included, which you could do in any number of other ways. Similarly, at, there is a completely useless "Web" button. And clearly Google is not opposed to using a drop-down list to give you more search options; I seem to remember that Scholar appeared in that list for a brief period, but I could be misremembering. Anyway, don't ever let anyone get away with suggesting that the reason that the Scholar button went away is that there wasn't any room for it. I don't know the real reason, but that clearly isn't it. My current theory is that it was accidentally left out of some configuration file, and no one at Google knows about it--after all, Google is not manned by academics and scholars, it is manned by programmers and marketeers. I suspect that very few people of that ilk ever use Scholar.

What It Does

I wrote this bookmarklet for my own purposes. I had 5 main unmet needs. I wanted to:
  1. send my google "Web" search directly to with a single button click (Ah, the good ol' days)
  2. have the default date range in scholar start with papers from the last 4 years, instead of "Anytime" (New)
  3. have the default scholar search leave out results that were only citations (New)
  4. never, ever, ever again have to watch a windowshade slide slowly down in order to uncheck that stupid "Show Patents" checkbox, which Google turns on by default *every time you visit Scholar* (New)
  5. not have to scroll back to the top of the search results page to take the query back to the normal web. (New)
If you know what you are doing, you can customize it. For example, you can change the default publication date range. You can make it show ONLY patents and nothing else. If you have a very focused research project, you can temporarily change the bookmarklet to ALWAYS add a particular set of search terms by default, so that you don't have to retype those terms every time you search. For example, let's say you are writing a research paper on the environmental impact of the interaction between wild raccoons and domesticated dogs in suburban settings, you can edit the bookmarklet so that the default set of search terms looks like this:

environmental impact interaction wild raccoons domesticated dogs suburban settings

Then when you click your customized Scholar bookmarklet, your Scholar search will immediately include all of those search terms AND the new ones that you just searched for in , which for example might have been:

Virginia Maryland Delaware New Jersey Chesapeake Bay New York

so that the combined search coming in from is

environmental impact interaction wild raccoons domesticated dogs suburban settings Virginia Maryland Delaware New Jersey Chesapeake Bay New York

Handy, right?

Once you've submitted your research project on raccoons and dogs, you can edit the Scholar button again and change the default search terms.

If you don't know how to edit a bookmarklet without breaking it, ask me and I might be able to help you or make another version that suits you better.

If you DO break your bookmarklet when you try to edit it, don't worry! Just delete the broken one, and come back here to get a clean copy.

Who It Is For

Anyone who needs to do research that goes beyond what is found on the average web site. Scientists and academics lamented the disappearance of the Scholar button from google's search results many years ago, but the pleas fell on deaf ears (or, more likely with Google, no ears at all).

But anyone might need Scholar from time to time. Want to find out how effective your new prescription is, compared to more established drugs? Don't rely on Go to the original research. Your doctor isn't addressing a chronic complaint? See if there is research on your problem and then take a list of solutions to your next medical appointment. Terrified by fear-mongering web sites telling you that everything from preservatives to aluminum foil cause cancer? Go check out what less financially-motivated sources say.

None of that is simple research. You probably don't want to devote daily time to literature reviews. The nice thing about my Scholar button is that it makes this kind of research possible and instantaneously available. The rest of the time it just sits on your bookmarks bar doing absolutely nothing. You can just ignore it forever if you like.


1. For Windows and Mac: Using your mouse, drag this link zzSCHOLAR to your browser's bookmarks bar.

Check back with me from time to time, for updates and new features, especially if the button ever breaks. And it WILL break, because Google makes frequent changes to its products that make useful bookmarklets and add-ons useless. I can't anticipate what the changes will be. I don't work for Google, so I have no insider information. Other browsers and search engines may change as well.

2. For Android:

So far, I know of no bookmarks bars in any browser for Android. The easiest (only?) way that I have found to use any bookmarklet on an Android device is by adding them to your DESKTOP version of a browser, then sync'ing your Android and your desktop browsers. Make sure that you change the NAME of the bookmarklet to something that will quickly pop up in the search suggestions. The bookmarklet is named with 'zz' in front of 'Scholar' by default, to make sure that it doesn't interfere with any of my own shortcuts. But you can change the name by right-clicking on it when it is in your desktop browser's bookmarks bar. Once the bookmarklet has sync'ed to your Android bookmarks, you can type the first few letters of the bookmarklet's name in the search box. When the bookmarklet is suggested, click on it, and it will send your query to Scholar. It's more cumbersome to use on Android, but so is retyping long queries. This work-around sure is better than copying and pasting, or retyping with your thumbs a query like "symptoms side effects lipitor number of confirmed paralysis type II diabetes deaths FDA warnings off-label uses"

Known to Work With:

  • WINDOWS 8.1
    • chrome
    • firefox
    • opera
    • internet explorer
  • Mac OS x10.10.4
    • safari
    • chrome
  • Android
    • firefox
    • chrome
  • Incognito/Private modes of:
    • firefox
    • chrome
  • when using these search engines:
    • PubMed
    • twitter


On a desktop machine, right-click the bookmarklet and choose 'Remove', 'Delete', or whatever word your particular browser uses to mean 'get rid of this'. If you have been using it on an Android device, it will be removed the next time you sync.

In terms of uninstallation, the Scholar bookmarklet is exactly like other bookmarks. It doesn't change your computer's configuration in anyway, which means that you can't go to Windows' Add/Remove Programs in the Control Panel to remove it. It's not a browser extension or add-on, so you won't see it in your browser's settings or preferences. You can't buy it from the Playstore, or the Windows store, or from iTunes.

Known Issues and Bugs

  • sometimes The Google Robot makes you prove that you are not a robot. Just solve captcha and you should be ok after that.
  • if clicked while NOT on a page of search results, says no results were found. (This just means that the button sent your page's url to scholar, and scholar only finds url's that are included in a research paper. The button is not broken. Making this ugly result go away is cosmetic only, and therefore of low priority to me.)
  • DOES NOT (YET) WORK in wikipedia
  • DOES NOT (YET) WORK in yahoo search;_ylt=
  • DOES NOT (YET) WORK in wolfram alpha ?i=
  • DOES NOT (YET) WORK in youtube results?search_query=
  • DOES NOT (YET) WORK in base cancer
  • DOES NOT (YET) WORK in Netflix

Disclaimer, July 6, 2015:

I'm a rusty Perl programmer. I wanted this button, and no one was making it for me. So I learned just enough about bookmarklets and javascript this week to make this dream come true. The script is just as hacky and cludgy as you'd expect it to be under the circumstances. But my script exists, so mine is better than any that could have been written but wasn't. :p

I will continue to work on the script as improvements occur to me. I'm an expert at spelling forgiveness, but only using Perl. For my next trick, I hope to get up to speed with regular expressions in javascript to make the button take queries from other search engines (listed under "Known Issues"). You can also send me suggestions and requests for features.

Thanks for using my Scholar button! Tell your nerdy friends!

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