Google Scholar (and SSRN) are the resource hubs you need right now
Whether you’re in full-time or part-time education. Or just a working stiff like me, looking for real data and facts. Then you need to add these links to your taskbar. They are article goldmines.
“Wait- Google Scholar? – never heard of it!”. “And SSRN sounds like a British Warship from WW2?”.
Ok, it does. But both are vital to learning. Unlike Warships.
If you are an inquisitive, life-long learner (like we know you are) then you need to bookmark these websites and use them regularly.
Because this is where facts live. On anything and everything. Peer-reviewed, impeccable sources and glorious search features. Not like that site you visited last week on cats, which looked nice, but was sparse on facts and told you that Mr. Truffles was your aunt Nelly reincarnated.
We are talking about Research papers, White Papers, and Academic Journals that are more powerful than you can imagine. Because those diligent folks have already imagined everything and then studied it. Then they put it on an online library just for you.
Say you’re about to start a research project. Or a new business. Or you think you have a great idea for a product, service, or new type of energy drink. Well, my friend, there’s a good chance someone, somewhere, has done a lot of heavy lifting already. And they’ve already published these technical records in a database. Boy wouldn’t you be happy?
And while you cannot plagiarize or use this data or models without due process and recognition, it could help you if you’re at a point in a project where excitement and glee need to be tempered with evidence and facts. You need Google Scholar fast.
These databases of facts could validate your idea and timing, or it could get you thinking about that dreaded pivot.
We know the Google algorithm is powerful. Well Imagine that power, but autotuned to return only full-text Journal articles and library links with content just for your project. And the more specific your query, the better it gets. From sources that have earned the right to “speak” to you.
Practical example. You are an ESG (environmental, social & governance) executive, and we hope there are a whole lot of you. Go to Google scholar and type “ESG best practices” into the browser. Go on, we’ll wait.
The best minds in the world have invested deep learning on the subject and completed technical reports then published and uploaded their results. In a format just for you. You’re welcome!
And a lot of these are free if you don’t download too many. But if you need to, they charge a criminally low price given the quality and experience of those responsible. Do you want to deep dive electric aircraft? They’re good for the environment and gas costs money.
But you read on some blog that the different published ranges might not reflect reality. And a few of your friends are investing in some of these companies and they have a different opinion.
At Google scholar, we put in that query and found a well-respected group of people who know what they are doing and have already produced scholarly articles. We downloaded the coverage and voila. Instant eVTOL education.
There are two main categories to search on Google Scholar. Articles and Case Law. And by clicking on the hamburger in the top left corner of the screen, you can toggle between the two. You can tell the algorithm in what period you would like your citations.
You can thank Malcolm Gladwell for making SSRN famous. Those MC fans out there will know what I mean. We are huge fans of the Revisionist History podcast and Malcolm has used this service to find articles that are thought-provoking, unconventional, or just outright amazing.
He gives coverage on the subject matter, mostly around their universal psychological or sociological effects. Yes, SSRN effectively does the same curation of academic papers as Google Scholar but…
a) you should always double up on your search box profiles and
b) SSRN is a database where your search query is description-based, and the scholarly articles are delivered on the number of downloads (so you can see what’s popular).
Google Scholar Drive
If your subject is “Aircraft Engines” or “robotic process automation”, then it will give you every paper with that in the article title or the abstracts of articles. From the most popular to the least. You can also search via author name if those names are known experts in a field.
And that’s it. The internet truly has everything. But you need the right tool, and you need to make sure your tool is sharp. Yes, you need to read analytically. And some of these documents will require your full, undivided attention for a period.
But if the subject or publisher has importance or meaning to you, then you should give your time willingly. If you are at the start of your career (or business), further education, looking at thesis ideas is doing the cold, hard domain research. Citation counts.
As an old engineering design adage goes, the further into development you go, the more expensive your mistakes will be. If you buy an electric car, it arrives at your house, and you sign the paperwork. But if you then realize that on a cold February day – on the motorway – the car’s range drops by 40%, you’ll be angry you didn’t look closer at data. It’s a bit late now to read the fine print.
Or imagine you’ve taken Thousands, or millions from investors to develop a new energy saving device. You should be doing homework. A lot of it. Especially in areas where you or your team is weakest.
You need to hit that Google Scholar or SSRN button.
To get you started on articles and conference papers, here’s a good video on how to read an academic paper. With a little practice, and only a few seconds of work, you will be able to learn how to peruse papers to know if an article has what you need or not.
Happy re-searching WT family. And good luck out there.