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A tweet from @aarontay refering to an infodocket article flagged up the relaunch of Microsoft Academic Search. Badged as a preview of Microsoft Academic from Microsoft Research on their site it says that it now includes ‘over 80 million publications’ and makes use of semantic search, as well as including an API, the Academic Knowledge API. Trying it out briefly with a subject that’s a current hot topic and it quickly brings back good and relevant results. It sorts by relevance as a default but offer a re-sort by Newest, Oldest or Most citations. Sorting by newest brings back some up to date results from 2016 so it seems to have up-to-date content. Sorting by citations brings back results in citation order but also shows some form of subject tagging but it isn’t clear how they are arrived at?
Where there are results with the full text available there are links or links to PDFs for what are presumably open sources. There’s a fairly extensive list of facets for Year, Authors, Affiliations, Fields of Study, Journals and Conference proceedings. Some of the links seem to go to Deepdyve.com which offers a subscription service to academic content, others seem to make use of DOI’s linking to sites such as the Wiley Online Library. When you filter down to individual journals you get a block appearing on the right with details of the journal and you can drill down to links to the journal.
Results appear quickly and look to be relevant. What doesn’t seem to be there at the moment is an ability to be able to configure your local ezproxy-type settings to link through to resources that you have access to through an institutional subscription and I wonder if it will offer the ability for institutions to publish their subscriptions/holdings as they can with Google Scholar. It will be interesting to see how this develops and what the long-term plans are. But it might be a useful alternative to Google Scholar.