Computing giants launch free science metrics

New Google and Microsoft services promise to democratize citation data.

Declan Butler

Mapping the landscape of science is about to get easier than ever before. Google and Microsoft are rolling out free tools that will enable researchers to analyse citation statistics, visualize research networks and track the hottest research fields.

The systems could be attractive for scientists and institutions that are unable — or unwilling — to pay for existing metrics platforms, such as Thomson Reuters’ Web of Knowledge and Elsevier’s Scopus database.

Launched in 2004 as a search engine for academic publications, Google Scholar last month added Google Scholar Citations (GSC), which lets a researcher create a personal profile showing all their articles in the Google Scholar database ( The profile also shows plots of the number of citations these papers have received over time, and other citation metrics including the popular h-index, which attempts to measure both the productivity of a scientist and the overall impact of their publications. The service is currently in invitation-only beta testing, but Google intends eventually to roll it out to all researchers. Read more of this post