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Easy, no cost way for Google to move the needle on science worldwide


Liberty
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".@Google could dramatically increase worldwide science literacy overnight by simply renaming "Google Scholar" to "Google Science" and adding a link to it from the main search box, encouraging people to search it. The word "Scholar" is Ivory Tower. "Science" is Bill Nye."

 

Sometimes the best ideas are simple. I thought this was brilliant. Hopefully it gets to the right people at Google...

 

If you're not already using it, Google Scholar is great:

 

https://scholar.google.com

 

*I know it's not literally "no cost" because of the opportunity cost of that real estate of screen, but it's still totally worth it and the kind of thing that the old Google would've done in a heartbeat. I hope the modern Google still has some of that in it...

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I used to use Google Scholar all the time, but found that it almost always ended up serving mostly results that were behind expensive paywalls, so I generally stopped bothering. Maybe that has improved

 

Maybe it depends on the field, but I've found more and more free-access journals in my searches in the past few years.

 

Also, if you find something really interesting, you can usually email the researcher and asked for a copy of the paper. They get zero money from the paywalled journals and are usually happy to have more people read their work, so they're usually happy to help.

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Scholarly articles are not always about science. Art, history, philosophy, math, engineering...

 

It would be a tragedy if Derrida's work is recognized by people as a "science" article, lol.

 

At one level, it would be demonstration of a bad UI design. The designer is naming things not based on what they are about in reality, but imposing their view. At another level, it shows how a certain motivation can distort your view.

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There's more to "Scholar" than just science.  In fact, I rarely seek journal articles in the areas of natural science from Scholar. 

 

 

SJ

 

That's true, and that would be a downside to this. Even putting it in the normal feed without a name change would be good, though I think Scholar is not a good name for 99% of people, they'll never click on it even if you put it in the feed. "Science" makes people think "I wonder what the scientific sources say about it" and "Scholar" makes most people think "I'm not a university professor or a PHD student so I guess this isn't for me."

 

So either they could find another alternative to Scholar that works (I can't think of one at the moment, but I'm sure there's something), or scholars looking for non-scientific things will get used to the new name and know that it's where they can find their stuff. Either way, even if it needs further tweaking, I think this idea is marvellous and would expose more people to better quality sources -- never underestimate removing friction and making things convenient and visible.

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Scholarly articles are not always about science. Art, history, philosophy, math, engineering...

 

It would be a tragedy if Derrida's work is recognized by people as a "science" article, lol.

 

At one level, it would be demonstration of a bad UI design. The designer is naming things not based on what they are about in reality, but imposing their view. At another level, it shows how a certain motivation can distort your view.

 

The main point is to include it in the search feed rather than have it hidden, and to have a better name that will resonate with more people. The fact that there's more than just science in there is a good thing, not a bad thing, and figuring out how to work that into the idea is what needs to be done, not throwing out the baby with the bathwater, IMO.

 

Right now Scholar is kind of off to the side. I think pretty much 100% of power users (scientists, technical people, academics, etc) who should use it already know about it and use it. But there's a much larger group of people who might use it once in a while if it was presented to them in the right context, but they just don't know about it or don't think to go do a search in it when they're looking for something. This group is so much larger than the academics and power users that even if just a very small fraction of it was pushed to Google Scholar, it would probably increase the reads and reach on most papers (or at least the abstracts) by a lot, and some people might get hooked into these sources or develop into scientists or technical people later on (I know that if I hadn't had access to the internet growing up there's a lot of things I'd never have learned and my life would be a lot different).

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Scholarly articles are not always about science. Art, history, philosophy, math, engineering...

 

It would be a tragedy if Derrida's work is recognized by people as a "science" article, lol.

 

At one level, it would be demonstration of a bad UI design. The designer is naming things not based on what they are about in reality, but imposing their view. At another level, it shows how a certain motivation can distort your view.

 

The main point is to include it in the search feed rather than have it hidden, and to have a better name that will resonate with more people. The fact that there's more than just science in there is a good thing, not a bad thing, and figuring out how to work that into the idea is what needs to be done, not throwing out the baby with the bathwater, IMO.

 

Right now Scholar is kind of off to the side. I think pretty much 100% of power users (scientists, technical people, academics, etc) who should use it already know about it and use it. But there's a much larger group of people who might use it once in a while if it was presented to them in the right context, but they just don't know about it or don't think to go do a search in it when they're looking for something. This group is so much larger than the academics and power users that even if just a very small fraction of it was pushed to Google Scholar, it would probably increase the reads and reach on most papers (or at least the abstracts) by a lot, and some people might get hooked into these sources or develop into scientists or technical people later on (I know that if I hadn't had access to the internet growing up there's a lot of things I'd never have learned and my life would be a lot different).

 

I'm the field where I contribute to academic journals  and I use Google scholar regularly. But I rarely use it

to look up information outsidee of my own research. If I'm curious about some scientific knowledge, Wikipedia is usually enough. If I want to learn more, I'd use Google search. Sometimes the Wikipedia page or websites might refer me to a paper and I'd read it. The problem is scientific papers are not really written in the languauge most people can understand. You also need to understand scientific research methods to properly draw right conclusions from those papers.

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