December 15, 2008

Seeking openness in Google Scholar

Although we have some good paid databases at SJSU, I’ve become addicted to Google Scholar since first using it in November 2004. It’s a quick and fast way to find research on a given topic, not to mention the main enable of certain types of vanity searches.

However, Google does not make it easy for others to build applications on top of Google Scholar, i.e. by providing APIs to allow third party access — the way they do for Google search or Google Maps.

Such APIs would allow new applications to be created to service the needs of scholars for finding and cross-referencing academic research. Apparently the Google engineers (or their bosses) are not persuaded that these APIs are worth doing.

There’s a thread on Google’s site where at least 30 people (mostly academics) have asked for it. I’m hoping others (i.e. blog readers) will comment there as well.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...
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Dustin Burke said...

Check out the "Publish or Perish" (http://www.harzing.com/pop.htm
) software tool that calculates an author's citation metrics based on their scholarly output. It's one of the most useful applications built over Google Scholar that I've seen. An open API would encourage many new innovations.

I'm working on an R&D project that attempts to bring scientific authority to the blogosphere and would benefit from such openness. http://wiki.milcord.com/wiki/Personalized_Web_2.0_Service_for_Authoritative_Content

We practice Open Innovation on all our projects at Milcord.

Anonymous said...

I am afraid Google has blocked its way by various agreements with journal publishers - I suppose Scholar is allowed to search their sites but not to provide free API (which would compete with business of publishing houses) - see Google - ACS problems.