Research records – filling the gaps with Google Scholar + Zotero

The stated aim of our Symplectic implementation – and integration with the repository – is to make it easier to maintain a constant, up-to-date picture of research activity across the University…historically, however, research management has been somewhat variable across the institution…frankly I knew this already and the repository had become the de facto research management tool but is itself far from comprehensive. Nor are the automatic data sources (Web of Science, Scopus and PubMed) likely to solve the problem, with variable results depending, for example, on the subject area and types of publication; I have also been importing existing records from EndNote libraries …where they exist, but there are still large swathes of research missing over the past 10 years or so that we are trying to cover. Especially less formal publications.

Other than automated search, the easiest way to get data into Symplectic is by importing RefMan (RIS) or BibTex, both of which can be exported from Google Scholar, but only as single records (so far as I can tell), unless you use Zotero in FireFox…

1. Install Zotero in FireFox – https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/zotero/
2. Go into settings in Google Scholar (top right)
3. Bibliography manager -> Check “Show links to import citations into” and select preferred output (RefMan/BibTex etc) and save preferences
4. Now a search in Google Scholar should show a folder icon in the address bar. Click the folder.


5. A small window drops down that shows the Google Scholar citations, with an empty check box in front of each citation
6. Select the citations that you need and click “OK”

7. A small window pops up that indicates the records are being saved into Zotero
9. Open the Zotero window with the icon at bottom of browser where the records should be displayed (you can keep searching and sending additional records to Zotero for eventual export)
10. Highlight (select) the Zotero records that you wish to export. Right-click on the selection and select “Export selected items”

Choose the appropriate format (in my case RIS) and save the file to the desktop with an appropriate name for subsequent import to Symplectic / research management system of choice. Ta da!

Records in Google Scholar aren’t necessarily the most reliable so care will need to be taken with this process but it’s certainly worth exploring as a method of filling the gaps in our research records.

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What role for repositories after (Gold)Finch?

As the discussions around the rights and wrongs of the Finch report rumble on (like a storm that you think has moved away before frightening the life out of you with a huge thunderclap right over your head), the new RCUK policy will take effect on April Fools Day next year (not sure if the date is significant?) whereby RCUK-funded authors must publish in RCUK-compliant journals i.e. journals that offer a suitable gold option OR a suitable green option. By “a suitable gold option” RCUK means immediate (unembargoed) OA to the “version of record” from its own web site, under a CC-BY license AND permission for immediate deposit of the version of record in an OA repository, also under a CC-BY license.

If the recommendations of the Finch report are realised and full gold OA is achieved in the UK, will the main function of repositories then be to preserve the institutional “version of record” and should we endeavour to procure that version rather than, for example, giving up and going home…or, perhaps, just linking to the gold version elsewhere?

As discussed in a recent post for ukcorr I would argue that, whatever happens, repositories are likely to remain a primary source of authoritative full-text versions of research outputs, not to mention associated data-sets as well as a variety of other scholarly outputs, including electronic theses and Open Educational Resources (OER) (N.B. dropping this link in to the excellent briefing paper on Open Practices from the OER Synthesis and Evaluation Project for convenient personal reference.)

In addition, repository infrastructure is predicated on the principles of interoperability, and though the potential to aggregate repository content across the national and global network has arguably not been fulfilled, it continues to be an active area with the development of services like BASE in Germany, RIAN in the Republic of Ireland, JAIRO in Japan and CORE in the UK.

If we are able to work within the prescriptions of Finch and the RCUK policy to increase the quality assured content of our repositories as well as integrating with institutional systems and making them ever more flexible tools for our research communities then together with the prospect of COUNTER compliant download stats from repositories (see that ukcorr post) we can continue to play a pivotal role, not just in the evolution of Open Access to research but the active dissemination of research to the public and increase the profiles and reputations of our institutions to boot!

(N.B. Also dropping in this link to this recent report from SAGE international / the British Library – Moving towards an open access future: the role of academic libraries)