Most Admired Search Engines for Academic Research

You just cannot ignore the fact that the Internet has transformed the information environment in the past decades, providing more rapid access to a greater volume of material than possible at any earlier time.

Searching tools, to some extent, have played a major part in this transformation. And there is no denial either that when you think of looking for resources online for your project or assignments then, its Google search engine, most of the times. It has actually become predominant. In fact, “to Google” had become “de facto” a verb in the English language by mid-2003, despite the objections of the company (Quint, 2002; BBC, 2003). In actuality, it has become a representative of the variety of easy-to-use search engines, based on free-text searching of the content of public websites. 

However, when it’s about academic research, Google search engine does not serve the purpose as it does in other cases. It does not provide perfect search results, mostly. This doesn’t mean that students have no other go-to options. There is a long list of search engines especially designed for the purpose of academic research. They can help you find relevant information without going through any irrelevant or low-quality pages. 

Here are few academic search engines to help you get the relevant and quality research material quickly and easily.

Established with a mission to accelerate the world's research, Academia.edu is a great platform for academics to share research papers. Users can find and share researches, monitor deep analytics around the impact of their research, and track the research of academics they follow. Up till now 4,939,245 academics have signed up to Academia.edu, adding 1,626,028 papers and 892,208 research interests. Academia.edu usually have more than 5 million unique visitors a month. 

Fully packed with thousands of video lectures from the world's top scholars- Academic Earth is an organization founded with a goal of giving everyone on earth access to a world-class education. Besides providing free high-quality educational content, at Academic Earth, they are working to identify the real barriers to world-class education and find innovative ways to use technology to increase the ease of learning. They are building a user-friendly educational ecosystem that will give internet users across the globe the ability to easily find, interact with, and learn from full video courses and lectures from the top scholars. 

Academic Info is a comprehensive searchable database of academic subject gateways and information as well as an educational subject directory. The platform aims to cover all aspects of education. From Accreditation, Test Preparation to guides on respective subject areas, it covers all of them; also provide current and aspiring students with a heap of degree and courses for those looking to enhance their professional credential as well as those seeking personal development. 

When it comes to academic search engines, Google Scholar becomes one of the most admired one. This platform has the power of Google searches applied to research papers and patents. It not only allows you to find research papers for all academic disciplines for free but also often provides links to full-text PDF file. It has approximately 200 million articles. It’s research papers and visited pages mostly have related articles, references, citation, link to full text etc. 

Microsoft Academic is an answer to Google Scholar. When it comes to researches, it takes a different approach and for each paper, it generates index and overview page that allows to easily explore top citing articles and references of the article. Close to Google Scholar, as of now, it has 210 million articles, along with a link to related articles, references, citation and more. 

Science.gov is a fantastic resource that offers free access to search results from more than 15 U.S. federal agencies. This platform makes it possible for users to search over 60 databases, over 2,200 websites, and over 200 million pages of authoritative federal science information in many formats, including full-text documents, citations, scientific data supporting federally funded research, and multimedia. 

Science.gov is also on its path of becoming a federal public access portal consistent with its original purpose and current vision and goals. It gives free access to journal articles, peer-reviewed accepted manuscripts, and reports of research funded by federal science agencies, as well as the agencies’ public access policies and requirements. Additionally, at present, offers information from across the federal government on education and training opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields for undergraduate and graduate students. 

Run by a team of researchers and engineers at the Allen Institute, Semantic Scholar is the new kid on the block. It aims at providing more relevant and impactful search results using AI-powered algorithms that help find hidden connections and links between research topics. Semantic scholar is packed with 40 million articles. 

This platform applies AI to extract the meaning from the scientific literature allowing scholars to navigate research more efficiently than a traditional search engine. It quickly scans research with automatic extraction of abstracts, tables, figures, and citations, understand a paper’s impact with statistics that highlight the volume and intent of the paper’s citations, illuminating the influence of the research. Also allow users to view related GitHub repositories, clinical trial data, presentations, videos, and other supplemental content to help reproduce the desired results of a paper and put it in context.  

Virtual LRC or The Virtual Learning Resources Center, a completely free resource, is the creation of Dr. Michael Bell, former state chair of the Texas Association of School Librarians.  

This platform is both, a dedicated index of more than 10,000 web pages as well as a meta-search engine that includes in its results information gleaned from many of the best research portals and university and public library Internet subject guides recommended by teachers and librarians. Besides, with the custom Google search, users can get more refined results, which are helpful in completing research in less time. In short, Virtual LRC is amongst the best places to start looking for research material that can help you in your studies. 

If you are looking for a platform that lets you get your hands on high –quality educational resources, then you definitely need to gather information from genuine and reliable sources and search engines mentioned above are absolutely perfect for you. They, for sure, are going to bring you the best and relevant search results. Do try them! 

About the Author
Author: Saniya Khan
Saniya Khan I am Saniya Khan, Copy-Editor at EdTechReview - India’s leading edtech media. As a part of the group, my aim is to spread awareness on the growing edtech market by guiding all educational stakeholders on latest and quality news, information and resources. A voraciously curious writer with a dedication to excellence creates interesting yet informational pieces, playing with words since 2016.

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