Why Google isn’t good enough for academic search

People often ask: why all the fuss about Search for academic papers?  Google does a fine job, we can find everything we need, what’s the problem?

I gave an answer to this in a comment on Mike Taylor’s blog and it got a bit of twitter pickup, so reposting my comment here for this audience.  Summary:  no one can build on the results!  

Google isn’t an acceptable answer to Searching across academic papers (toll access, green OA, gold OA, whatever) because it doesn’t support a way for people to digest the search results, add value, and apply the results in new and innovative ways. Google search results can only be used on Google’s website manually, or embedded as-is in other websites.

Neither Google nor Google Scholar offer an API — for love nor money, as far as I can tell, point me to it if I am wrong — that would let us do a Google Search and then sort/filter/enhance the results to add value and use in research and in scholarly tools.

Totally unacceptable as a search solution for the scholarly literature.  Think of the opportunity cost to research and research tools, and all the things that better research tools facilitate.

It doesn’t have to be this way.  Search results can be openly available for reuse (see the search APIs and API terms of use for PLOS, PMC, etc).