I don't understand why my question about Google knowledge panel was closed as off-topic. The only reason I can think of is that the question is about a non-academic site. I would like to understand in order to get a chance to rewrite the question, if possible.

For what it's worth, I think that there is clear evidence that sites such as Google Scholar or ResearchGate play a role in the academic ecosystem nowadays, so I don't see why questions related to these non-academic sites would be off-topic on AcademiaSE.

  • ResearchGate does not play a useful role. academia.stackexchange.com/questions/16870/… Feb 22, 2021 at 21:49
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    @AnonymousPhysicist Some of the answers there are very old. Whether one likes it or not, in some communities ResearchGate plays an at least minimally useful role (e.g. I frequently receive requests by colleagues to send them a copy of my papers, even when they know me well and could just send me a request by email, or even when the paper is available as open access). In fact, in the Q&A you linked there are more recent answers that say that it can be useful, contradicting your general claim above. Feb 24, 2021 at 13:11
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    @MassimoOrtolano academia.stackexchange.com/questions/113725/… And are you certain those requests are really from your colleagues? Feb 24, 2021 at 21:26
  • @AnonymousPhysicist Indeed I'm certain. Feb 24, 2021 at 21:32

4 Answers 4


Several things about the original form of the question may have been less than helpful.

The title for the question is "How to avoid the misrepresentation of one's research work in Google Knowledge Panel?", but this question is answered in the body of the question, where you describe how you need to go through an identity verification procedure where you hit upon a snag and then quote the answer you got from Google: "acceptable web profiles on SRP are Facebook, LinkedIn, Soundcloud, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Official website.". You then state that you are not willing to make social media profiles. You are well within your rights to make that choice, but on my side it looks like you're asking a question to which you know the answer but you're not willing to accept the answer.

Then you finish off with "Did anyone manage to successfully claim their panel?", which is a different question altogether, and rather opinion-based to boot. Which question are you actually interested in, the title question or the final question?

To me, these read like reasons to vote for closure because the question needs more clarity, and because the question is opinion-based, respectively. You ask here, however, why the question was closed as off-topic. I can only guess. You're asking after the company policy of Google's identity verification process, for editing a knowledge panel. This is the policy of a company, regarding one of their products, and how users* of that product can interact meaningfully with the company. I don't see how that is on-topic for academia.SE.

*this may not be the right word here; you have been volunteered by Google to become one of their users, and now want to correct what their automated system screws up. I sympathize with your situation.


I don't think I would vote the question to be closed, but I suspect those that have consider this effectively a boat programming question, a phrase used to refer to questions that are off-topic on Stack Overflow because they take a more generic question and frame it as "for programmers" when that generic qualification isn't really relevant and only serves to make a non-programming question into one.

Since the Google Knowledge Panel isn't specific to academics (it applies to any people of note, organizations, etc.), you could consider a question "How to manage my own Google Knowledge Panel as an academic?" to be the boat programming version of "How to manage my own Google Knowledge Panel?"


I think the question should be on-topic, because the OP being an academic is central to the situation and to potential approaches. The knowledge panel of them exists because of their research profile. The specifics of the OPs webpresence (university website, Google scholar profile; no social media) apply only to academics, and to a large fraction of them. Ideas such as "try to get your university adminstration sort this out" could make sense for OP, but do not apply in general.

Thus, the question is NOT boat-programming (where the boatyness of the boat doesn't really matter).

  • Knowledge panels are not specific to academics. No academics are able to influence Google to solve the problem. Mar 2, 2021 at 3:05

The question should be closed as off-topic for the reason Bryan Krause gave:

Since the Google Knowledge Panel isn't specific to academics (it applies to any people of note, organizations, etc.), you could consider a question "How to manage my own Google Knowledge Panel as an academic?" to be the boat programming version of "How to manage my own Google Knowledge Panel?"

We get a lot of questions about the way Google products work on this site, and they are often unhelpful questions because only Google knows the answer, and they are not telling. Further, many of the tech support questions we get do not fit with the topical themes of the site.

  • You said "the only reason Google created this knowledge panel for me is because I publish research papers." If you asked "How do I get Google to create a panel for me based on my research papers?" that might be a reason not to close your question as out of scope. But your question is about claiming and editing the panel, which is not related to the reason the panel was created. Also, questions about Google's trade secrets might be closed as opinion-based, since we do not know the secrets. Feb 22, 2021 at 21:58

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