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Automatic TRANSCRIPT

Our guest today is Jack Golden Fine. He's a post doctoral fellow slow at the digital life initiative and he's originally from Melbourne Australia. He's research looks law in Computational Society including including the impact of platforms on user behavior. He's most recent piece of research. Looks at Google scholar. A relatively new free web search engine that indexes scholarly work in which has quickly become central to academic life just like other Google services have in other disciplines. I sat down with him just before the holidays and I began by asking him to explain what Google scholar is for the non scholars among us. And why it's become so important Horton. In recent years Google Scola emerged in two thousand and full when it was first launched it was just an academic search. Such engines are just like Google that ordinary such engine accepted return. Scholarly results how it defines something as scholarly has always been a little a bit vague. And maybe we'll talk more about why the Vagary of that is a bit problematic but the idea was it would return results that were relevant for scholars. Looking King Faculty make work since then. It's had a few more features added that perhaps beyond set actually more important or have had a bigger effect on the academic field in two thousand and six you able to stop saying citation counts associated with particular scholarly documents and then three years later. Two two thousand eleven google Google scholar launched sort of citation platform and what they did was give each racer. A profile like scholar profile filed outlined oleo publications and the citation counts of those publications calculations of academic quality or the quality of eraser. Sure premised on the amount of citations their publications getting over particular number of us. Silly amount the number of times other researchers will quote from your research search in their own research. Exactly it's the number of times that An article a document that you ride is referred to by other researches. It's pretty new right. You said it it started in two thousand and four so less than I mean a little over ten years. How how big is it now in the field? It do every researchers look at it when they're working on a new topic or so I would say. Almost every researcher would be familiar with it when Dougal scholars such sort of emerged on the sane librarians. This who Training young racers will always telling them be very wary of this because we sort of don't understand how it works as well as we understand. How other academic search search engines wet? It's also interesting. Because most academic search engines are quite disciplinary specific and they all they return results to a particular the corpus or repertoire of journals whereas Google scholar is disciplined agnostic a returns results across disciplines irritations results from academic journals but also other kinds of publications and whereas in traditional academic search engines. You have quite a lot of control over. What what you're searching for in Google scholar you have relatively limited control you can you can constrain the dates? But that's kind of more or less it. So it's always occupied had a bit of a funny position in research toolkit but it's increasingly a used because we're getting a lot more sort of disciplinary environments where people are interested in finding out information outside of their discipline and so google scholar becomes sort of fest port of coal in that kind of instance. But the thing that we're finding is maybe the big use of Google scholar is it's it's citation counting function it's bibliometric function on because what Google Scuola represents his really the easiest way to say. How many citations a particular research has received how come like what? Where did you get those metrics before? and and why were they less easy to find. People who are metrics have been around for a long time in the fifties those information scientists named using Garfield field. Who developed this process of citation analysis? Way You could effectively automate the organization. That is the indexing of scholarly work Iraq by its references so libraries with struggling with how to organize exploding amount of scientific and scholarly literature. And they will. Also you're thinking about how to to use computers to do that. The problem with during that is the sort of need to figure out a way to define the subject matter of of a publication in a way that a computer can understand and Eugene Garfield came up with a really clever way of doing that which is to look at references. Organiz it by the references rather than the actual actual content. This idea was really successful. It was really useful research tool but it also became clear quite early on that counting. Citations could give you a really Sort of rough guide to the quality of work because it gave you a measure of its reception in the field. It didn't tell you how people were trading but a told you people were rating in had some some sort of visibility. So through the sixties and seventies this eventually turned into a commercial product and in the nineties that was purchased by Thomson Reuters Webb of science over the last couple of decades has been probably the primary tool to get metric information but it's number one. The product was General Impact Factor in journal impact factor measured the number of citations to articles in particular journal. Over set a number of years. This citation analysis was used primarily for evaluating the quality of channels rather than the quality of individual researches now individual researchers started added to organize their own sort of scholarly prestige around the prestigious journal. Yeah so if you publish a nature medicine for example for a doctor it's not the same mm-hmm as in a local journal. That might be great but less has left citations nationally. Exactly so what we see during the seventies eighties nineties his citation starting to do lots of interesting things. We started to see journals effectively set their price according to the number of citations that were getting individual scholars. Who now were in this more competitive scully? Well because you know in the second half of the twentieth century the number of scholars in Christ raced dramatically along with massive increases in funding to. There's a lot more research is. There's a lot more research. Things are getting more competitive. The Prestige of your journal Becomes go away to sort of define your position in a market