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DataBank: Article Level Metrics & Citation Analysis: Microsoft Academic

Recommended For

All Disciplines, especially Humanities and Social Sciences         

Introduction

If you are looking for a free product, this guide considers Microsoft Academic Search to be a better choice than Google Scholar or Google Books. It is more accurate, more reliable, and the universe of publications is better defined.

".... a free service... find academic content, researchers, institutions, and activities.... indexes not only millions of academic papers, it also surfaces key relationships between and among subjects, content, and authors..." This is a subset of the content available in Bing, and concentrates exclusively on scholarly works.

Use "Advanced Search" or the results may be nonsense.

One strong point of this tool is that there is some attempt to resolve the author disambiguation issue (see "Considerations"). If you choose "Advanced Search" and enter an author's name, you will be given a list of variants of the name--e.g., first/last, first/middle/last, first initial/last, first/different middle/last, etc. Each of these names is also affiliated with an "Interest" which eliminates the need to weed out Brett Blaze, the Nanotechnology scientist, from B. Blaze, the scholar in Musicology. It is possible, though, for the same relevant author to be listed more than once (see below).

Another advantage of this tool is that the results are easy to manipulate, the display is clear and clean, it has good sorting features, export capabilities to bibliographic software, and is in general easy to use.

Limitations

Some cautionary notes:

  • Authorial control sometimes extends to assignment of author's name with an institutional affiliation--e.g., Sandra Sveine, Northwestern University. However, all variants should be examined because Sandra Sveine with no institutional affiliation, S. J. Sveine, and Sandra Jo Sveine may all be the same person as the one identified as the NU faculty member.
  • Publications may be missed in a limit by Domain. Although it is possible to limit a search by "Domains" --which are disciplines--it is not advisable. For example, a Political Science scholar can be listed with a primary interest in that subject and also again with a primary interest in International Economics. Some of the author's publications will be under the author name affiliated with the former interest, and some with the latter. Political Science, however, is in the Domain category of "Social Sciences" while economics has its own category.
  • Sometimes the work of an author with the same name as the one searched appears in the results even if you have choosen the name from the "Were you looking for these authors" list.
  • Some citations to monographs are included and some are not.
  • It is unclear from whence the data originate and therefore unclear what timeframe is included (early 1980's forward?).