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Google Scholar as a Data Source for Research Assessment in the Social Sciences

Güleda Doğan

The Web of Science (WoS) was the dominant bibliographical source for a long time until the launch of Scopus and Google Scholar (GS) in 2004. GS is an academic search engine different from WoS and Scopus in approach and scope. The fact that GS covers the social sciences more broadly compared to WoS and Scopus led the academy to use GS as a bibliometric data source for research assessment studies. This chapter aims to review the studies on “Google Scholar” related to social sciences. In doing so, we reveal the usefulness of GS in assessment exercises. First, the literature on “Google Scholar” retrieved from GS, Scopus, and WoS is described using Flourish. We visualize the literature retrieved from these three data sources using VOSviewer to show the scatter of the studies and their emphasis on social sciences. Second, we focus on the studies related to social sciences. We discuss the terms extracted from the titles and abstracts of these studies related to “social sciences”. This chapter concludes with the recommendation to use of GS in a careful way. GS is not a citation index but a search engine and various problems with data quality and its
transparency are noted. 

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