Defining discovery: is Google Scholar a discovery platform? An essay on the need for a new approach to scholarly discovery

Kelly Achenbach, Marta Błaszczyńska, Stefano De Paoli, Francesca Di Donato*, Suzanne Dumouchel, Paula Forbes*, Peter Kraker, Michela Vignoli

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Downloads (Pure)


This essay discusses the concept of discovery, intended as content discovery, and defines it in the new context of Open Science, with a focus on Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH). Starting from the example of Google Scholar, the authors argue that this well-established service does not address the current needs, practices, and variety of discovery. Alternatives in terms of technical choices, features, and governance, do however exist, offering richer and more open discovery. The paper presents, in particular, the implementations and research work of the H2020 project TRIPLE (Transforming Research through Innovative Practices for Linked Interdisciplinary Exploration). Dedicated to the building of a discovery platform for the SSH, the project is meant to address the specificities and evolution of discovery in this field.
Prevailing scholarly resource platforms like Google Scholar limit discovery by focussing only on publications, and favouring through their algorithm well-cited papers, English content, and discipline-specific resources. A limitation in the context of cross-disciplinary and collaborative Open Science, such a service more specifically hinders discovery in the SSH. Characterized by a fragmented landscape, a variety of languages, data types, and outputs, research in the SSH requires services that fully exploit discovery potentialities. Moreover, a survey conducted within the TRIPLE project showed that most SSH researchers use Google Scholar as their starting point, and that they recognise the lack of control they have with this system. Beyond the extension of features and content, transparency is the other important criterion for the building of an open infrastructure serving the research community. In light of this, we present the GoTriple platform, which exploits today’s technological potential and incorporates the best known functionalities, in order to unveil more and innovative scholarly outputs and lead to international and interdisciplinary research project collaborations.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages22
JournalOpen Research Europe
Issue number28
Early online date29 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jun 2022


  • Open Science
  • Content discovery
  • Information seeking
  • Social Sciences
  • Humanities
  • Infrastructure
  • Search Engines
  • Multilingualism


Dive into the research topics of 'Defining discovery: is Google Scholar a discovery platform? An essay on the need for a new approach to scholarly discovery'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this