It’s good to see Google Scholar introducing a new service. We’ve been wondering where they’ve been as Microsoft continues to develop the robust and very useful Microsoft Academic Search* that has now been around (and expanding) for more than 18 months.
The most recent news–until now–out of the Google Scholar camp about a new feature came in January and February when they released an option to search for opinions from specific courts and the improved highlighting for legal materials. When it comes to non-legal materials the most recent announcement of something new or improved was a year ago.
Yesterday, Google announced Google Scholar Citations.
We use a statistical model based on author names, bibliographic data, and article content to group articles likely written by the same author. You can quickly identify your articles using these groups. After you identify your articles, we collect citations to them, graph these citations over time, and compute your citation metrics. Three metrics are available: the widely used h-index, the i-10 index, which is the number of articles with at least ten citations, and the total number of citations to your articles. We compute each metric over all citations as well as over citations in articles published in the last five years. These metrics are automatically updated as we find new citations to your articles on the web.
You can enable automatic addition of your newly published articles to your profile. This would instruct the Google Scholar indexing system to update your profile as it discovers new articles that are likely yours. And you can, of course, manually update your profile by adding missing articles, fixing bibliographic errors, and merging duplicate entries.
Google Scholar Citations is currently in limited launch with a small number of users. This is a new direction for us and we plan to use the experience and feedback from the limited launch to improve the service.
Here are Two Examples of Author Profiles:
After spending some time with GS Citations, Google is correct in saying that, at this point, there are many entries. In most cases when we did find a profile they only had two or three entries at this time.
It’s quite evident that there are some major differences at this point. With that said, the following is NOT intended to be a point by point comparison of Google Scholar and Microsoft Academic. Our intention is to simply share a few areas that we think are worth pointing out.
- In the case of Feynman, GS has more publications and more citations*. However, Microsoft says their database is far from even being close to complete and still has major work to do in the humanities and social sciences. In the past few weeks Microsoft Academic doubled the size of their database and it includes a notable amount of business and economics material. So, as you might expect, we will have to compare often and also using more than two author pages.
- Both Microsoft Academic and GS have the same number of publications for Dr. Acharya but GS has more citations.
- One thing we need to learn is if both services use the same criteria to determine a citation.
* GS lists 2366 cites for Feynman’s “Simulating physics with computers” paper. However, if a researcher wanted to review all of them it’s impossible as far as we can tell. Like all other Google searches the max number of results a user can access is 1000.
Feynman’s, “Quantum Mechanics and Path Integral” has 1702 citations in Microsoft Academic and we were able to access each one.
- The Google Scholar author profile has a chart showing citations to articles by year.
- Microsoft Academic author profiles show both citations by year and cumulative citations
Like author pages can provide a lot of info about a researcher in one place here’s a feature that Google doesn’t offer (at least as of today) that Microsoft Academic does provide, organizational discipline pages. For example:
- Stanford University and RAND Corporation organizational pages and then new (and cool but no more Silverlight) domain trend tool for each organization (now limited to info tech/comp sci material).
Winners thus far?
The winners in this are and will continue to be users who are aware of both services and take full advantage of what each one offers.
* The technology that Microsoft is using here is new. It is not a new face on the old and rather miserable Microsoft Live Academic Search available several years ago. Academic Search technology development has been lead by Microsoft Research Asia.