There appears to be no way to sort Google Scholar search results by any field. If somebody has figured out a way to do so, please share.

  • Unfortunately, Google also doesn't provide API for the scholar search yet! Does this mean that I have to write a crawler+parser to sort the results?
    – Aamir
    Commented Nov 2, 2011 at 8:44
  • Will you accept being able to filter by field?
    – user16299
    Commented Jan 13, 2012 at 4:52
  • Your question is about sorting by number of citations. I just did a search and the results appear to be sorted by number of citations. Is your question still valid? Commented May 9, 2012 at 13:52
  • 1
    This question is over 5 years old. Is there any new way to do this? It's still a problem as far as I can tell
    – Bamboo
    Commented May 8, 2016 at 6:38
  • 1
    I know it doesn't answer the question: Microsoft Academic allows to sort by Most citations.
    – user176791
    Commented Jan 24, 2018 at 18:21

7 Answers 7


I've already had the same problem.

Here's a python code for dealing with that: https://github.com/WittmannF/sort-google-scholar

My suggestion is that you rank by citations/year rather than the absolute number of citations (usually older articles are more cited).



Some points:

  1. this only is reliable if your search returns fewer than 1000 results
  2. you can chop your search up and combine the pieces via CSV files and excel, to sort a larger search
  3. PoP also sorts by 'cites per year', which removes the bias in favor of older articles, which have had more time to accrue citations. However, this is sometimes misleading for books and articles which have been reprinted or had new editions, since all of the citations are sometimes counted for the new edition.

For smaller sets of references that aren't from the same searches, you can use this plugin for Zotero, although it doesn't worth with the standalone version of zotero yet:


  • Does the pop thing still exist?
    – Sigfried
    Commented May 5, 2020 at 10:46
  • no, it is not, sadly. The python code referred by @Fernando Wittman is the way to go.
    – Rho
    Commented Dec 13, 2022 at 11:07
  • As of Jan 2023 Publish or Perish is still available and being maintained. Commented Jan 8, 2023 at 14:03

If you want to find out what articles are most relevant to your query, then Google Scholar already does a pretty good job in sorting them. If the search query is rather broad (for example "Schrödinger") then the result list will mostly be sorted by the number of citations.

If your query is rather narrow, on the other hand (for example "nonlinear time-independent Schrödinger"), then Google tries to provide you with the most relevant results first (namely nonlinear time-independent Schrödinger equations) rather than putting articles high on the list which have a lot of citations but aren't exactly about what you're looking for.

That said, I'm also feeling a little uncomfortable in Google trying to find out what I actually want.

  • Well, I'd say if it doesn't give me sort options, so I can myself decide what sorting to use regardless of the breadth of the query (i.e. the number of results returned), I'd say it's not doing a "pretty good job in sorting them".
    – sdaau
    Commented Feb 22, 2015 at 12:01
  • 1
    Nonsense. Google Scholar search results follow some opaque algorithm. It suggest papers that it deems relevant to your search based on criteria that are unknown. It does NOT return the highest-cited papers first. Hence the need for tools like Harzing's.
    – reggie
    Commented Sep 12, 2019 at 10:10
  • Google Scholar search algorithm is unknown. Also, a simple search will prove to you that the "number of citations" is not being considered, even for obvious cases. Commented Dec 8, 2021 at 17:31

Well, There is another solution which I have been using for a while. If you are using Zotero for your reference management (if you don't I strongly recommend to do so), there is a plugin which downloads the number of citation from google scholar:

  1. install Zotero
  2. go to this GitHub Repo and download the plugin and install it as instructed
  3. on you Zotero app add the "extra" to the fields:

enter image description here

  1. Right click on the item you want to fetch citation and choose update citation right on the bottom

now you have the number of citations right into your reference management software and you can sort your collections accordingly. If you use the plugin to download citations for many items at once, Google will ask you for captcha.


There is a search engine called Scinapse. You can go to the page of the paper and sort based on the number of citations.


Google Scholar offers a way to filter the search results by field, though not necessarily sort them. To do so:

  • Go to Google Scholar, and click Advanced Scholar Search

  • Enter your search terms

  • Under "Collections", there is a subcategory "Articles and patents". This category offers two radio button options: "search articles in all subject areas" and "search only articles in the following subject areas". The latter option provides subjects like "Social Sciences, Arts, and Humanities" and "Physics, Astronomy, and Planetary Science"

  • Click "Search Scholar"

Once you open your results, there will be a series of checkboxes under the search bar that let you choose which, if any, subject areas you would like to limit your search to.

Google Scholar will also allow you to search for legal decisions from certain courts.

  • This appears to answer a different question than the one asked.
    – MD004
    Commented Jan 6, 2020 at 23:09
  • Description of Advanced Scholar Search doesn't match the current dialog box. This answer wasted my time and doesn't seem to offer anything useful right now. It would be nice if someone deleted it.
    – Sigfried
    Commented May 5, 2020 at 10:43
  • Indeed, there is a difference between subject area and number of citations. This approach does not provide any way to use the cites as a search priorization criteria.
    – Rho
    Commented Dec 13, 2022 at 11:11

This is possible on Publish or Perish which is free to download. Try that.

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