NET NEWS: A Google for Academia

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Science  03 Dec 2004:
Vol. 306, Issue 5702, pp. 1661
DOI: 10.1126/science.306.5702.1661c

As if you weren't spending enough time Googling, now the search engine offers another reason to loiter there: a bibliographic tool aimed at scientists and other researchers. Google Scholar, a beta version of which launched last month, trolls for articles, reports, and other documents from publishers, universities, professional societies, and abstract databases such as PubMed. Almost all top scholarly publishers have agreed to let Google index their sites, says principal engineer Anurag Acharya, including the publishers of Science and Nature.

Instead of the list of Web sites, an author search for Francis Crick returns a roster of his works, beginning with a citation for the 1953 paper on DNA structure. To rank the results, Google Scholar applies the same criteria that scientists use when deciding which papers to read, says Acharya, including the importance of the journal and how often the work has been cited. Although you can obtain abstracts for most articles, you or your library will need a subscription to download the full text of some publications. Acharya says upcoming features will include limiting searches by date.

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