Monday, November 25, 2013

Google Scholar, WoS and Informit

Not sure why Google Scholar has suddenly intersected with my job again after a seeming hiatus. The renewed activity seems to indicate Google is committed to developing and maintaining Scholar - (have already seem some conspiracy theory postings about this being the next step in googlizing the information universe now that the Google Book law suit has been dismissed)

Anyway at least I have a theme uniting a bunch of thoughts.

Google Scholar as Research Platform

I don't know when it happened but Google Scholar has upped the ante on its functionality and is horizontally integrating services provided to researchers.

They've introduced:
  • A web-based citation manager (My Library)
  • A quasi research portfolio (a list of your research output that appears in Scholar)
  • An alerting service (you get emails when new items match your criteria)
  • H5 metrics
While fiddling around I found that in settings you can configure Scholar to show 'Export to Endnote' links (also BibTeX, RefMan and RefWorks)

All you need for this functionality is a Google Account.

Google Scholar home page showing services

WoS (Wusses Out Speedily)

First there wast Thomson Reuter's (TR) announcement last week that they were going integrate Web of Science (WoS) with Google Scholar and simultaneously stop integrating it with the other 'discovery layers' (Summon, Primo and Ebscohost).

TR's email stating that this was all about improving user experience didn't gel with my version of reality and I suspected (wrongly, I assume) that this was an example of Google being evil - that TR had to be exclusive to Google to jump on their bandwagon. But a couple of days of whingeing tweets and blogs and listserv emails (and who knows what unpublic communication) from libraryland and TR announced that it would continue working with the other discovery layers. That the new announcement was so quick seemingly disproves there was any exclusivity agreement with Google - it seems it must have been a business decision to lessen their workload and thus increasing profit - pretty sure no discount would have come had they proceeded with discontinuing DL support.

Anyway, except for some raised blood pressure no harm done. Now we wait and see how Google Scholar uses the WoS data.  I'm pretty sure it will still require an institutional subscription for a user to see the data. I assume IP restriction will be used, so citation counts will appear much like our Link Resolver appears if you access Scholar on campus or through EZproxy.

Given that Scholar already has citation counts it may be that WoS will simply replace whatever Scholar is doing to create those counts.

Not so sure if users will able to attach themselves to an institutional subscription without EZproxy (like you currently can in your Scholar Settings).


The Summon developers announced that the Informit suite is now included in their unified index. I found a problem with full text links to Find It@JCU for previous titles/ISSNs, and I wanted to see if Scholar was building OpenURLs that worked - only to discover that Informit is a 'special case' in Scholar.  If you click on the title of a citation harvested from Informit in Scholar you are taken to full text in Informit - works great if you are on campus. Not sure what happens if you aren't.

I've submitted a request to RMIT Publishing asking that they work with Scholar to provide some sort of visual indication in the SERP that fulltext is available (it looks like a typical citation only hit - there is no link in the right column to either the link resolver or a URL)

Google Scholar Informit citation without full text indicator
Informit citation without full text indicator

1 comment:

Alan @JCU Library said...

It looks like the Informit/Google Scholar issue is related to changing titles and ISSNs - so the ISSN for the journal at that time is not triggering the display of our link resolver in Scholar. Serials Solutions are looking into it.