Google Scholar recently released a new functionality to their service called Scholar Updates. It builds upon the existing research alerts offered by Google Scholar, which are similar in nature to those offered by ISI Web of Science and other academic databases.
Google Scholar alerts require manual set up, where a user defines a specific query relevant to their research interests using Boolean terms. While advanced users relish the flexibility of Google Scholar alerts, those who do not have the time or know-how to set up queries don’t find much value in the service.
Scholar Updates, on the other hand, has enhanced the existing alerts service by automating it for users who have a Google Scholar Citations profile. As evolutionary biologist, Jonathan Eisen, explains on his blog, Citations profiles are scraped by the Scholar Updates service in order to determine authors’ research interests and relevant keywords, based on their publication history. The service then returns relevant articles from the web by “determin[ing] relevance using a statistical model that incorporates what [an author’s] work is about, the citation graph between articles, the fact that interests can change over time, and the authors [that a researcher] works with and cites” (Connor, 2012).
According to Eisen, Scholar Updates are surprisingly relevant to his interests. Other researchers are not so sure that the service is ready for prime time.
Have you started using Scholar Updates? What do you think of the service so far?
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