|The Microsoft Academic search tool is an open discovery service for scholarly scientific works including citation relationships between works, authors, institutions, places, and subject fields.|
Microsoft is quietly developing an open discovery service for scholarly scientific works called Microsoft Academic based on Microsoft Research’s Microsoft Academic Graph (MAG). This search database will function much like Web of Science and Scopus in linking paper citations to aid in discovery.
To build the MAG, Bing technology crawls the Web looking for “publisher websites, university repositories, researcher and departmental web pages, etc.” which then get analysed for content and citations. If papers are determined to be scholarly works, they’re added to the MAG.
Microsoft describes the service in their FAQ:
This new service puts a knowledge driven, semantic inference based search and recommendation framework front and center. In addition, a new data structure and graph engine have been developed to facilitate the real-time intent recognition and knowledge serving. One illustrating feature is semantic query suggestions that identify authors, topics, journals, conferences, etc., as you type and offer ways to refine your search based on the data in the underlying academic knowledge graph. You can also refine your results using the filters on the search results page. Since we are built on top of Bing’s web crawling infrastructure, we are able to discover and index new academic papers in a more scalable manner. We now have over 150 million entities and billions of relationships in the Microsoft Academic Graph and growing!
Search results can be filtered by date range, author, affiliation, field of study, journal, and conference. Users can choose to include news items or limit results to scholarly works.
The underlying MAG data is available for download or accessed via the Academic Knowledge API.
It remains to be seen if Microsoft Academic can develop the features to rival Google Scholar. Three features would go a long way towards that goal. The service should allow libraries to register so that search results can contain custom links including institutional authentication such as a proxy URL prefix. Microsoft Academic could add its own altmetrics by gathering results from Bing crawling the Web and social media sites. A simple tool to add citations to Microsoft Word documents would be a way to set Microsoft Academic apart. But its open, non-commercial platform with downloadable data and APIs makes it a search service to watch.
Preview Microsoft Academic at https://academic.microsoft.com.