Comparing Google Scholar Usage to China’s Baidu Academic Search Usage Patterns.


I will be conducting research over the coming weeks and months on the impact COVID-19 is having on search behaviour. In my previous post usage data (from DuckDuckGo) showed a marked (unprecedented) increase in the use of Internet search engines as many people stay and work from home and uncertainty caused by COVID-19.

Segmenting the data and looking at academic and business search engines may surface different trends. I’m waiting for the data from March, but even looking at data from Dec 2019 to Feb 2020 can point to some interesting trends.

The chart above shows visits to Google Scholar (Dark Blue) over 3 months compared to China’s Academic Search Baidu (Light Blue).

On the left hand side of the chart it is interesting to see a far less pronounced ‘peak and trough’ between workdays and ‘weekends’ in Baidu compared to Google Scholar. There are numerous papers in the literature that comment on different search behaviour in different cultures. These usage data provide some evidence to support these findings.

The impact of the Christmas period (the run up to and subsequent Western New Year period) is clearly seen in the middle of the chart in Google Scholar.

On the right hand side of the chart whilst Google Scholar usage patterns revert to normal, the Baidu usage shows a dramatic tailing off perhaps a combination of Chinese New Year Celebrations and COVID-19.

It will be interesting to see how the March 2020 usage data affects both Google Scholar and Baidu and to compare to 2019 data. Particularly the effect of more remote working on academic literature searching.

Watch this space!


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