What is Google Scholar? How is R Discovery Different for Research?

For researchers, the pivotal task of conducting a literature search and distilling the most relevant insights from an ever-expanding pool of knowledge is both a challenge and a crucial skill. Academics search in Google Scholar or use AI-powered tools like R Discovery to navigate the swelling sea of academic literature. In this article, we delve into these two platforms, explaining how to use Google Scholar and R Discovery and how they are different in the benefits they offer busy academics.

What is Google Scholar?

Launched in 2004, Google Scholar is a freely available academic search engine developed by Google. It indexes scholarly articles, books, and academic and conference papers by searching repositories of scholarly websites, universities, and publishers across various academic disciplines. The Google Scholar search engine offers quick and easy access to a vast repository of academic content from various disciplines. A word of caution, however, Google Scholar articles may include unverified sources, so take care to assess these or choose trusted tools that provide reliable research and quality content.

Many academics still use traditional search engines like Google Scholar for research articles. Yet, with rapid advancements in AI, the world has moved toward a simpler recommendations model. Take for instance, Spotify – it understands your preferences and suggest songs you like without you having to do a search. By bringing recommendations into the literature search and reading space, R Discovery now offers this same experience to academics.

What is R Discovery?

R Discovery, a product by Cactus Communications launched in 2020, has emerged as the most loved literature search and discovery app for academics. By combining over 21 years of academic expertise with advanced AI, machine learning, and natural language processing capabilities, R Discovery has eliminated the need to repeatedly use search engines like Google Scholar for research articles.

R Discovery’s powerful recommender engine understands your interests and browses over 120 million articles in its repository to present you with the latest, most relevant scholarly articles. With personalized reading feeds, best-in-class notifications, and intuitive features like audio streaming, research paper translation, and science-backed answer to your top queries, R Discovery helps researchers save time while empowering them to read more of what matters. It’s no wonder then, that over 2.7 million users across 125+ countries are transforming the way they find and read research with R Discovery.

How is R Discovery different from Google Scholar?

  1. Google Scholar is a search engine while R Discovery is based on a recommendation engine (with a search option). Every search in Google Scholar requires users to start afresh. On R Discovery, users can save their topics of interest once and start getting recommendations every time you log in, which saves both time and effort. For example, when searching Google Scholar for research on Covid-19 for five consecutive days, you have to start from scratch every time. On R Discovery, you enter your topic once and then get relevant research paper recommendations every time you use the platform, including newly published articles and top 100 papers on your topic to always keep you updated.
  2. The Google Scholar search engine works on keywords, while R Discovery relies on concept matching to recommend relevant papers. When using Google Scholar for research, you need to enter the right keywords to find relevant articles. This means potentially important literature without the entered keywords are likely to be excluded from the Google Scholar article results. Apart from some newly published articles, your search on Google Scholar is also likely to show you the same results every time. Meanwhile, R Discovery uses its accurate concept match capabilities to find papers linked to your topic of interest, even if a keyword is not mentioned. It continually improves its article recommendations based on your ratings, bookmarks and reading history, so you never miss out on meaningful research.
  3. Google Scholar research topics may include unverified sources while R Discovery’s content is continually sanitized to ensure reliable, quality content. The Google Scholar search engine is not as careful about weeding out potentially fraudulent content, putting the onus on researchers to do the necessary checks. On the other hand, the R Discovery repository is regularly vetted for quality and duplication, with stringent checks to eliminate predatory journal content, ensuring that users are presented with the cleanest, most reliable research.
  4. Google Scholar is only focused on literature search while R Discovery allows for research discovery and easy consumption of content. A search in Google Scholar shows you results for top papers related to your keywords but directs you to different websites to read them, often making the process more tedious and time-consuming. Unlike the Google academic search function, R Discovery understands that researchers need to discover research, access and evaluate papers quickly, and save relevant articles in one place. It does this by:
    1. Curating personalized reading feeds has been an integral part of the R Discovery experience since its launch, while this is not available on Google Scholar.
    2. Creating summaries for research papers, allowing users to quickly assess an article’s relevance, saving time spent on irrelevant papers.
    3. Enabling institutional access to paywalled articles so users can access and read full-text research papers for free on R Discovery.
    4. Simplifying how you keep up with research, with features that allow you to listen to research, translate and read in your language, and much more
    5. Allowing users to integrate their R Discovery library with Mendeley and Zotero so you can save papers directly in your chosen reference library.
    6. Making research reading a happy habit with timely notifications and reminders like bookmarked papers that are left unread or new papers from journals you follow.
  5. The Google Scholar search engine is available on the Web while R Discovery offers multiple touchpoints. Unlike Google academic search, only accessible on the World Wide Web, R Discovery is available as a mobile app and on the Web; you also benefit from its email alerts and app notifications that take your research discovery and reading to the next level.

How to use Google Scholar and R Discovery for research?

How to do an article search in Google Scholar

  1. Open up your Web browser and visit https://scholar.google.com/
    Google Scholar for Research
  2. Type in your keyword, e.g., Covid-19, and the Google Scholar search engine will show you the top results in seconds. Each result will have the document title in the first line, supported by bibliographic details (author, journals, publication year and publisher) in the second line.

    Google Scholar also allows you to save papers to your library, cite it in your chosen style, see where the article has been cited, check for related articles, and see various versions online.

    Search Articles in Google Scholar

How to simplify literature search with R Discovery

  1. Visit the R Discovery website or install the free app from Google Play Store or Apple Store.

    R Discovery: Academic Research
  2. Complete the one-time search by setting your goal, choosing your research area, and selecting your topic/s of interest.

    Select research topics of your interest: R Discovery
  3. For instance, search for ‘Covid-19’ and choose specific variations of the topic to start getting recommendations.

    Research topic recommendations: R Discovery
  4. As you like and dislike recommendations and modify your reading preferences, you will see new, more relevant research article recommendations for research on Covid-19.

    Research article recommendations: R Discovery

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is Google Scholar and how is it different from Google Search?

    The Google Scholar search engine is tailored for academics and provides academic search results, focusing on research papers, theses, and other scholarly literature. You can see citation information for each result, save and manage papers with the My Library feature, and set up alerts for topics. On the other hand, Google is a general search engine catering to a wider audience; it presents diverse results from a wide range of content across the web, including websites, news, images, and videos.

  2. How does ‘My Library’ work in Google Scholar?

    Google Scholar's handy "My Library" feature can be especially valuable for those who do not use any reference managers. This allows users to save articles to their personal library, organize articles into folders, view and include citations in different formats. It also allows users to set up Google Scholar alerts that will notify users when articles related to their topics of interest are published.

  3. Does Google Scholar search engine show credible sources?

    Not always. When doing a search in Google Scholar, it’s important to remember that the search engine curates all research papers available on the Web. This includes peer-reviewed journal articles, non-peer-reviewed papers, reports, and preprints, as well as gray literature and other potentially predatory sources. It’s critical to do the mandatory checks before referencing any article for your own research work!

  4. Are there any alternatives to Google Scholar for research articles?

    While Google Scholar search engine is possibly the first choice when you’re starting out, keep in mind that it is not perfect. If you’re looking to save time and read more of what matters, choose trusted tools like R Discovery, which uses its powerful AI recommender and intuitive features to optimize and streamline your literature search and research reading journey.