Can Google Scholar Give Us Everything We Need? Evaluation of Research Literature Databases for Subject Scope and Search Retrieval in the Sciences
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Prompted by changes to the creation and indexing of scientific literature and those databases that compile this literature, an evaluation and comparison of eight databases (AGRICOLA, AGRIS, BIOSIS, CABI, FSTA, Google Scholar, Scopus, and Web of Science) for their breadth of subject scope and effectiveness in search result retrieval for the agricultural sciences was conducted over the past year. In one study, we evaluated the databases for subject scope in agricultural literature. Thirty citations from three large literature reviews in different domains of agricultural science (agronomy, animal and meat science, and human nutrition) were randomly selected and searched in each database. In a second study, we evaluated the quality of the search of these eight databases by conducting a series of searches for the three domains of agricultural research to test the retrieval of content and examine the first 100 results for relevance. A reexamination of the subject scope and search quality of the major agricultural sciences databases will help determine which of these database tools are most useful for agricultural research.