Why Has Google Scholar Removed the “Since 2020” Filter for Searching Peer-Reviewed Studies?

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By the author of The Prepper’s Guide to Post-Disaster Communications and The Cartoon Ham Exam Handbook: A Complete Ham Radio Technician License Study Guide

Google Scholar is every student’s mainstream means of getting sources to cite in their research papers. Teachers and professors across the nation have barred Wikipedia from ever being used as a source, so where do they turn to instead? Google Scholar.

Though you may detest everything Google, you can’t deny that they have some products and services that work absolutely fantastically. And, of course, Google Scholar is no exception. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a source of peer-reviewed research that’s as easy and organized to sift through as this site. Those who are well-familiar with the search engine know that it’s a very easy-to-use means of finding some of the best, cutting-edge research that’s being done across the globe.

Whether you’re interested in epigenetics, what is happening in the world of artificial intelligence philosophy (yes, it’s a thing), or need to brush up on your Mayan archaeology news, Google Scholar has it. But it’s not just that the information is out there.

Nope, as we’ve pointed out above, all of this information has to be easily sifted through. And one of the reasons that students across the globe are thankful for this is because of one particular quirk of syllabi across the nation: teachers are picky with who they’ll regard as trustworthy.

Picking a year

At least one of the ways that this showcases itself is through the decision that a citation is not allowed if it happened before a particular year. Many professors require a student to write research papers requiring at least 15 citations. The goal here is for the paper to be well-researched and for the student to demonstrate that they actually know how to engage in research.

In many cases, you’re only allowed to cite a source if it’s ten years old or less. That paper you found from 1973 just won’t cut it. Without getting into the nitty gritty of whether or not that’s a good choice (why can’t I reference Isaac Newton’s paper if it literally revolutionized the world’s thinking?), one of the great things about Google Scholar is that it allows you to filter out your search results by year.

Want to only see studies that were published within the past five years? Then, in the top left of the screen, you can click the “Since 2019” button. Need research that was published after 2015? Then click the “Since 2015” button. You can do this for any year you want.

My question is this: Why is there no “Since 2020” or “Since 2021” button in the top left corner of the screen on Google Scholar? Why can’t I filter out research beginning from these two years?

What happened to 2020 and 2021 in Google Scholar?

To be sure, there was research that was published in both of those years. It’s not like scientific research just stopped. Take this (useless) study showing, once more, that exercise is beneficial to your health. We really needed that one. The study will still pop up in the Google Scholar search results, so it’s not like all research from 2020 isn’t showing up in Google Scholar, but it is strange that those two years are conspicuously absent from the filter results.

And this is the case whether you search Google Scholar on a desktop or via mobile. Those two years are just gone from the stock filter buttons.

What’s the deal here? Is it a glitch? Did Google just forget to add those two years to Google Scholar in the filter results? Or, was this done purposefully, and if so, what could be the reasons that one wouldn’t be wanted to filter out the research that took place between 2020 and 2021?

To be fair, we do need to point out that you can still search 2020 and 2021 in the custom date range box, and that when you do so, research from both of those respective years will pop up in the search results. So, it’s not like you’re not allowed to search those years at all within Google Scholar; it’s just that the quick buttons to do so are gone.

Yes, there was still plenty of research done in those two years.

It doesn’t make sense that those two filter options would be removed because “there weren’t enough studies” for those two years. There were still plenty of journal articles published then, and even if the number was lower than “normal” (which, I do suspect was the case. A lot of research is performed at universities, and lockdowns hit the globe. If a professor isn’t allowed to leave his house without being arrested, he’s most certainly not going to be able to make it to the lab.), it would still benefit the researcher to be able to sift through the literal thousands of studies that still would have been published across the globe that year.

What gives?

What do you think happened? Is this just a glitch in the code? Did somebody decide those two years just weren’t worth creating a button for? Or is there another reason?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

About Aden

Aden Tate is a regular contributor to TheOrganicPrepper.com and TheFrugalite.com. Aden runs a micro-farm where he raises dairy goats, a pig, honeybees, meat chickens, laying chickens, tomatoes, mushrooms, and greens. Aden has four published books, What School Should Have Taught You, The Faithful Prepper An Arm and a Leg, The Prepper’s Guide to Post-Disaster Communications, and Zombie Choices. You can find his podcast The Last American on Preppers’ Broadcasting Network.

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Aden Tate

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  • There are no coincidences. Think about what monumental news story overwhelmed the world from 2020 – 2023 and the controversy that surrounded it. You would think that Google would want to make information about this event very available and when they don’t, start asking yourself why.

    Long story short. It is my opinion that they want to obscure any data that goes against the narrative.

    • So many “conspiracies”, so little time. From a validation and IT perspective (including staffing), I can think of numerous things that explain why no

      • Yet, so many of those conspiracies have come true.

        Seems to me, such a widely used app in academia, would warrant additional staffing.

        Then again, in Bidenflation, Amazon is cutting some 18,000 jobs. Facebook 11,000. Microsoft 10,000 jobs, just to name a few.

  • No coincidence in my opinion. ‘They’ve’ attempted to change everything else. If they ‘allow’ researching, we citizens can form our own opinions (whaaat??) & not need to be told what to think. Only the elite super smarts can tell us what to do or think, don’t ya know?

  • I’ve used Google Scholar generally. My amateur historian research requires books, many no longer in print, but available through Inter-Library Loan most of the time.
    So is something nefarious going on here? Probably. Narratives and history are being rewritten. Not for accuracy, but to craft an Ideological Narrative that doesn’t stand under serious scrutiny. The best way to cut down on scrutiny, is to remove all material that doesn’t support their narrative. That’s what they’ve done in the past, and at present, and they will continue to do so in the future.

    Welcome to 1984, 39 years late.

  • Were they ever there? Do they skip over them and have a “Since 2022”? I don’t use Google or Google Scholar, but if they have never been, then it might be they haven’t updated the template. Now if they skip over those two years, then there might be something going on.

  • They were removed because those years correspond with the period of time when the covid narrative appeared and was in progress.

  • It’s because 2019 is the five year increment. E.g. line 1 — most recent, line 2 – one year ago, line 3 – five years ago. If there were four lines, the next one would likely be 2014 (10 years). It’s no big deal. Nothing is being hidden. First, of course, publications from 2020 and 2021 will show up in in the years “since 2019.” Second, if you want to search *only* for 2020 and 2021, you can choose “Custom range” and put in any date range you want.

  • My wife teaches at a Big 10 University. She holds a Master’s degree and teaches research skills for Master’s, DnP and PhD level medical students for the last 21 years (I won’t reveal more details for privacy concerns). I asked her about this.

    No academic uses Google Scholar (GS) for research purposes beyond as a jumping off point or for accessing things such as meeting minutes, notes or other things not directly related to a published research paper. There are multiple very expensive and excellent databases the researchers use instead. Using Google Scholar as a sole research source for a paper is avoided, especially if the researcher wants to try to publish their paper. It’s kinda like driving a Mustang but thinking you are in a Ferrari.

    If you want to do a standard GS search, this is what the top left of the screen looks like when you enter a search term:

    Any time
    Since 2023
    Since 2022
    Since 2019
    Custom range…

    Choosing Custom range is exactly that, a range of dates you can enter. That range includes 2020 and 2021. When you click on Custom range, the dialog box opens (doesn’t take you to a new window) and you can enter your dates there. No Big Deal. Hopefully, the Author realizes if you choose “Since 2019” that will include both 2020 and 2021….the dates he seems concerned about.


    If you want to do an Advanced Search, you can indicate 2020 and 2023 to get the “since 2020” you are looking for. Or, you can enter the same date in both fields to search just a single year. To find it go to :

    Google Scholar
    Click the 3 lines on the top left side of the screen
    Click on Advanced Search
    It is the bottom option.

    The article author says there was “plenty of research” done in those years (since 2020). Well, kind of. The wife tells me that many research projects were put on hold and much of the effort was put into Covid instead, at least among the major universities.

    A very important point she made is that it is difficult for a non trained person to identify the difference between quality research and poor research, what constitutes a well designed study, which resource publications are quality vs which are pay to publish or are just low quality, study size, peer reviewed, ect. Basically, almost all people who do “my own research” don’t have a clue as to what they are doing. They watch a few YouTube videos, read a few “research papers” and think they know something. It’s not about intelligence, it’s about training and experience. People hire a dentist to work on their kid’s teeth, a roofer to shingle the roof, a mechanic to rebuild their transmission because they don’t know how to do these things well (or at all) but when it comes to “research”, everyone thinks they are a professional.

    It’s not a conspiracy, people, put your tin foil hats away.

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