Google Scholar quietly launched a new service, Google Scholar Metrics, earlier this month. Google Scholar Metrics allows users to browse a ranked list of publications in a variety of disciplines, sorted according to their h-indices.
Google Scholar envisions that authors will use the service to “consider where to publish their latest article,” and also discover resources outside of their primary field of study. (As interdisciplinary research continues to grow, the latter functionality will likely become increasingly valuable.) Resources are also categorized by language, and journals may also be searched for using non-English terms (e.g. “salud”)—albeit on a limited basis.
Since the service launched, I’ve been thinking a lot about what Google Scholar Metrics can do for librarians. The first—and most obvious—possibility is that subject librarians can use it in a way similar to authors, in order to become familiar with new resources outside of their primary area of focus. They also might use it to supplement their calculation of the potential value of new journals (and not to mention that of traditional resources), before making purchasing decisions.
Collection development and scholarly communication librarians might be able to use the service to garner support for creating or increasing the budget for their institution’s Open Access publishing fund or institutional repository. Open Access journals, such as those in the PLoS* family, are relatively well-represented in this list. And as you can see in the below screencap (Top English Language Publications), OA repositories (red arrows) rank higher than some traditional heavyweights (blue arrows) such as the Lancet, Cell, and PNAS.
What uses do you envision for Google Scholar Metrics in the realm of libraries?
“Google starts ranking journals,” Significance Magazine
“The next revolution in Science: Open Access will open new ways to measure scientific output,” Open Knowledge Foundation – @ccess
* Full disclosure: I was formerly employed by PLoS and continue to be a staunch supporter of this wonderful non-profit.
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