What does it mean to stand on a shoulder of a giant? The phrase doesn’t stand for tramping on poor giant’s face and blinding his eyes with mud in order to have a better view. It implies finding out everything about all of the scientific papers that the giant has read.
In order to help us with the view, Google produced a scholarly ”giant-tool” and named it Google Scholar. It provides one place from which you can search for articles, theses, books, abstracts, court opinions from academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities and other web sites.
With Google Scholar you can:
- Search diverse sources from one convenient place
- Find articles, theses, books, abstracts or court opinions
- Locate the complete document through your library or on the web
- Learn about key scholarly literature in any area of research
Google Scholar is freely accessible search engine, and it includes most peer-reviewed online journals and links to open-access repositories of Europe and America’s largest scholarly publishers. Through its “cited by” feature, Google Scholar provides access to abstracts of articles that have cited the article being viewed. Google Scholar ranks results with a combined ranking algorithm weighing:
- The full text of the article
- The author
- The publication in which the article appears
- How often the piece has been cited in other scholarly literature
It is a tool which is easy to use, and to a user, it is one dwarf-friendly giant. Google Scholar is Open Access friendly since it provides indexing for open material and counts citation. This helps to utilize the disruptive potential of Open Access technology while old impact factors and demise of standards in scientific publishing is moving towards new ways of evaluating scientific publishing;
- Number of downloads
- Recommendations from other authors/readers/researchers
A wider dissemination of knowledge is supported with Google Scholar facilitating library access to scholarly texts. I have discussed in my older post why libraries should support open access journals and how librarians are strong advocates of Open Access.