Google Scholar error 403 with EndNote citations has a workaround

To me, the very thought of how people managed completing the higher degrees when platforms like Google search engine and its popular subset Google Scholar didn’t exist is nerve wracking.

Google Scholar has been a blessing, and I am sure those of you who are doing PhD like me (god help us all?) or are into other kind research work must feel the same. This free search engine’s beautifully indexed endless collection of scholarly literature has saved me lots of trips to libraries.

Library

One thing that I particularly love about Google Scholar is the citations part. From keeping a track of who all have cited your research work, to downloading citations in different formats like BibTeX and EndNote or different styles like APA and MLA, Google Scholar does it all effortlessly.

But as is the case with majority services, feature/functionalities do get off track every now and then, and Google Scholar is no exception to it. I recently stumbled upon some complaints from Google Scholar users who have been encountering error 403 while downloading or exporting citations.

Google-scholar-error403
Google Scholar error 403

Users explain the issue saying they are either not able to download EndNote citations or export citations to EndNote as Google Scholar throws the error 403. Some users also add they get blocked from downloading citations. Here’s how affected users word the problem:

I am going to submit my dissertation proposal but I cannot import the citation to Endnotes. It is really frustrating!!!!

I’ve got the same problem, I am trying to get my citations for a masters report and I have been blocked for most of my citations. How can I fix this?

Another user explained the issue in detail saying:

This happens when I am working with 10-20 papers from a class and I want to export the citation. After searching for ~10 papers even though I am logged into the account google thinks I’m a robot and asks me to clear a captcha. I do that and search works as normal, however the export stops working and I have to wait for a day for it to work again. I haven’t faced issues like this on researchgate. Given I’m logged in with a google account I’ve been using from over a decade it’s a bit surprising google does this. Can google not block the export access, it’s a huge hassle to wait for a day to start working again with citations?

Similar reports can be seen posted across Twitter and Reddit.

google-scholar-tweet

In a look out for more information, we could locate a notice that has been put up by Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology on their website explaining Google Scholar error 403. They say the issue occurs due to Google’s security policy and the block is automatically released in 2-3 days.

Google-Scholar-error-403
Error 403 explained by UNIST Library

One of the affected users also said some thing similar on Google Chrome forums where this problem is being reported.

Guys this issue mostly occurs when we use google scholar heavily for a longer period without any break. Try to do your work in portions on daily basis.

So looks like excessive usage of Google Scholar somehow blocks users from downloading/exporting citations. But why EndNote specifically that we can’t comment on. It could be that downloading citations in EndNote is extremely popular among users. But then again, we don’t have any proof of that as well.

Anyway, in between all this, a workaround that appears to help some of the affected users is to star the citation you wish to download. Then go to Google scholar library, and you’ll be able to download the citation to your reference manager.

Google-scholar-error403-workaround
User shared workaround

So those of you affected can give this workaround a try and see if that helps. And yes, don’t forget to let us know in case it does. Rest assured, we are keeping a tab on the matter and will update the story as and when any new development comes to our sight.

P.S. For more Google-related news and stories you may head here.

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Dr. Aparajita Sharma

A budding entrepreneur by profession, and a psychologist by education. As a founding member of PiunikaWeb, I am nurturing this firstborn with my sharp-eyed expertise and even journalistic writing when needed.