It was at a chance encounter at the ALPSP conference last September with Anurag Acharya (co-founder of Google Scholar and hero to millions of researchers) that I popped the question - why was it that Google Scholar did not index monographs? Anurag explained that the length of monographs and their level of treatment pose unique challenges in a search environment. Monographs usually describe mature work unlike journal articles which usually describe early stage work. Users clicking on monographs are usually looking for immediate answers to questions rather than a list of articles to read. As a result, it is hard to achieve a successful search experience for restricted access monographs.
While Anurag was explaining the technical side, I had one of those light-bulb moments and realized that all those issues fell by the wayside with Open Access books. So I told Anurag about Knowledge Unlatched. Realizing that the dataset of 28 books from the Pilot was likely to be too small for Google, I told him about OAPEN’s platform and its now nearly 2500 Open Access books.
Now, just weeks later, OAPEN and Google Scholar have turned this dream into a reality. From here on in Google Scholar is able to index Open Access books.
A huge thanks to the Google Scholar and OAPEN teams for this giant leap forward.