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Here you can find the projects and publications of the Sciplore research group.

Our current projects:

If you are interested in working with us, e.g. during a student project or for compiling a thesis, please see our dedicated page at the University of Konstanz for project proposals.

Watch a video about our MindMapping software for researchers:


1401, 2011

Beta 14 of SciPlore MindMapping is out: Import comments & highlighted text; more BibTeX attributes, Export works now, …

By | January 14th, 2011|Categories: Uncategorized|7 Comments

We added some new features to SciPlore MindMapping Beta 14 that should help you a lot in managing your academic literature: Many users told us they would like not only to import bookmarks but comments and highlighted text from PDFs to their mind maps. Well, this is now possible :-). However, importing highlighted text is pretty… far from being perfect. Currently, it works only with PDFs edited with Skim. Anyway, importing comments works quite well. In addition, more BibTeX attributes are shown in the mind map (journal, year and authors in addition to bibtexkey and title). Also the BibTeX processing is more tolerant which makes it easier to use SciPlore MindMapping with manually created BibTeX files and other reference mangers than JabRef. And, we fixed several bugs. As a consequence all export formats should work now (e.g. HTML, XHTML, Java Applet, Flash, PNG, PDF, …). Here is the complete list of our changes:

  • New: Comments in PDFs and highlighted text can be imported
  • New: Show more BibTeX attributes in mind map (author, year, journal/conference)
  • New: Icons for most important actions in incoming folder window added
  • Improved: BibTeX processing is more tolerant
  • Improved: Incoming folder window remembers width
  • Fixed: Update reference keys did not work if one BibTeX key in BibTeX file was empty
  • Fixed: Some export formats did not work properly
  • Fixed: Status window lost focus on click on background
  • Fixed: If monitoring directory was non-existent, an exception occured
  • Fixed: Reference key was not assigned if file name had special chars
1812, 2010

Beta 12 and 13 of SciPlore MindMapping released

By | December 18th, 2010|Categories: sciplore mindmapping, software|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Beta 12 has many new features and improvements

  • New: Incoming PDFs are now displayed in seperate window
  • New: ‘Import All’ and ‘Import New’ Bookmarks
  • Improved: Update of the monitoring node is now MUCH, MUCH faster
  • Improved: Better understandable error messages when the web service is not available (for mind map backup, user validation etc.)
  • Improved: Logging events are sent up to three times if connection breaks
  • Improved: Better exception handling if no internet connection exists
  • Improved: Icons are now in higher resolution (more…)
1812, 2010

Do you trust Google Scholar?

By | December 18th, 2010|Categories: academic search engine optimization, academic search engine spam, Google Scholar, Paper|Tags: , , , , , , , |0 Comments

Are you using Google Scholar? For finding scientific literature? For obtaining citation counts and publication lists of researchers? Have you ever thought about how trustworthy the information is you get on Google Scholar?

My colleague and I performed several tests with Google Scholar and found out that it is really easy to fool Google Scholar. You can easily increase citation counts of articles and therefore increase the article’s rankings. You can easily add invisible keywords to articles and make the article appear relevant for searches it actually isn’t. You can also create complete non-sensical articles with the paper generator SciGen and make Google Scholar index them. And you can place any kind of advertisement in manipulated articles and make users of Google Scholar downloading them.
Of course, our results do not mean that you cannot trust Google Scholar at all or shouldn’t use it at all. Despite our results I am using Google Scholar frequently – imho it’s still the best academic search engine on the market. However, as with all other search engines you should be aware that there might be spam and manipulated information and you should really be carefully using citation counts from Google Scholar. Maybe there are no, or little, manipulations right now. But the more citation counts from Google Scholar are used for performance evaluations, the higher the incentive for researchers to manipulate them (and, as said, it’s really easy).

What I am interested in now is: What’s you opinion on this subject? Have you every found something on Google Scholar that was suspicious? Please let me know.

If you are interested in more information read the full article, titled “Academic Search Engine Spam and Google Scholar’s Resilience Against it”, here.

Update 2010/12/31:

We got a few questions when we did the experiments on Google Scholar (unfortunately we didn’t state that in the paper). The answer: Between early 2009 and mid of 2009. We first submitted the paper to WWW2010 in November 2009 but it was rejected. Well, and then it took… many many month (and edits) before the Journal of Electronic Publishing finally accepted and published the paper :-).

Update 2011/01/02:

There is another really interesting article about spamming Google Scholar: Cyril Labbe created a fake researcher called Ike Antkare and made him one of the most cited authors of all time (according to Google Scholar). Read the article here.

1809, 2010

Beta 11 of SciPlore MindMapping released

By | September 18th, 2010|Categories: sciplore mindmapping, software|Tags: |0 Comments

Today we released Beta 11 of SciPlore MindMapping. There is a number
of new features, namely:

  • New: Copy several BibTeX keys from different nodes at once
  • New: Open the folder that contains the software’s log files via the menu
  • New: Keyboard shortcuts for the most important functions
  • New: Backup reminder (user is asked to activate backup after 10th software start)
  • New: Information retrieval reminder
  • New: Usage statistics implemented
  • New: More options for PDF monitoring (update automatically on opening a mind map and read (no) sub directories)
  • Improved: PDF Bookmarks (more…)
1206, 2010

New Paper: On the Robustness of Google Scholar against Spam

By | June 12th, 2010|Categories: academic search engine optimization, academic search engine spam, Google Scholar, Paper|Tags: , , , , , |1 Comment

Update: The final article is published.

Please read here.

I am currently in Toronto presenting our new paper titled “On the Robustness of Google Scholar against Spam” at Hypertext 2010. The paper is about some experiments we did on Google Scholar to find out how reliable their citation data etc. is. The paper soon will be downloadable on our publication page but for now i will post a pre-print version of that paper here in the blog:


In this research-in-progress paper we present the current results of several experiments in which we analyzed whether spamming Google Scholar is possible. Our results show, it is possible: We ‘improved’ the ranking of articles by manipulating their citation counts and we made articles appear in searchers for keywords the articles did not originally contained by placing invisible text in modified versions of the article.

1.    Introduction

Researchers should have an interest in having their articles indexed by Google Scholar and other academic search engines such as CiteSeer(X). The inclusion of their articles in the index improves the ability to make their articles available to the academic community. In addition, authors should not only be concerned about the fact that their articles are indexed, but also where they are displayed in the result list. As with all ranked search results, articles displayed in top positions are more likely to be read.

In recent studies we researched the ranking algorithm of Google Scholar

[1-3] and gave advice to researchers on how to optimize their scholarly literature for Google Scholar [4]. However, there are provisos in the academic community against what we called “Academic Search Engine Optimization” [4]. There is the concern that some researchers might use the knowledge about ranking algorithms to ‘over optimize’ their papers in order to push their articles’ rankings in non-legitimate ways.

We conducted some experiments to find out how robust Google Scholar is against spamming. The experiments are not all completed yet but those that are completed show interesting results which are presented in this paper. (more…)