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Google Science Technology

Losing Google Would Hit Chinese Science Hard 161

An anonymous reader writes to share recent statements by Chinese scientists that indicate troubled waters ahead if Google were to pull out of China. "More than three-quarters of scientists in China use the search engine Google as a primary research tool and say their work would be significantly hampered if they were to lose it, a survey showed on Wednesday. In the survey, 84 percent said losing Google would 'somewhat or significantly' hamper their research and 78 percent said international collaborations would be affected. 'Research without Google would be like life without electricity,' one Chinese scientist said in the survey, which asked more than 700 scientists for their views."
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Losing Google Would Hit Chinese Science Hard

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  • Google Scholar (Score:5, Informative)

    by Rary ( 566291 ) on Friday February 26, 2010 @03:04PM (#31289010)

    My initial reaction to this was "what, they don't have other search engines on the Internet?" I mean, I use Google myself, and I'm quite happy with it, but if it disappeared tomorrow I'd just start using something else.

    Then I (gasp!) read TFA, which I know many (most?) of you won't do, so I'll fill you in on the part that the summary missed. The issue here isn't so much that they fear losing Google, but that they fear losing Google Scholar, which, as far as I can tell (although I've never used it), has no free (as in beer) alternatives.

  • by XXeR ( 447912 ) on Friday February 26, 2010 @03:07PM (#31289078)

    Nothing is stopping the Chinese from building their own search engine.

    ummm, Baidu []?

  • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <eldavojohn AT gmail DOT com> on Friday February 26, 2010 @03:14PM (#31289190) Journal

    Link is to an article that does not name who did the "survey." For all we know the whole thing was made up.

    I believe the Science journal Nature did the survey. Here's the original article [] and a breakdown of the survey []. Sample size looked to be 784.

  • by forkazoo ( 138186 ) <> on Friday February 26, 2010 @03:17PM (#31289238) Homepage

    Why would Google have to be IN China for the "scientists" to use it as a search engine?
    Just because Google has no offices or data centers in China would not mean it would be unavailable there.
    Censored perhaps, but how difficult would it be for "Scientists" to get around that, or be exempted from it?

    By "censored," you mean blocked. Google's ability to operate in China was dependent on censoring all search results to make sure nothing slipped out. Trying to do that kind of content filtering on the national firewall level would be impractical. Where the physical data centers are located is almosta complete non-issue. It's whether or not Google will restrict their content offerings to Chinese central government standards.

  • by ElectricTurtle ( 1171201 ) on Friday February 26, 2010 @03:22PM (#31289300)
    More Chinese users use Baidu than Google. It's not an issue of better or worse, it's an issue of focus. Baidu is sino-centric, which for most Chinese is a positive thing, because most users infrequently need international information. However, Chinese scientists need international information all the time, so for them Google makes more sense.
  • Re:Google Scholar (Score:5, Informative)

    by routerl ( 976394 ) on Friday February 26, 2010 @03:26PM (#31289372)
    Google Scholar is the most comprehensive index of scholarly articles in the world, period. Not only are there no free alternatives, there are no alternatives at all. There are services like JSTOR, which only index a limited number of journals from specific services, but nothing that compares to the completeness of Google Scholar (AFAIK). The only real alternative to Scholar is going to individual sites of individual journals and searching for what you're looking for dozens of times in different places. This quickly becomes a day-long project, compared to a 2 minute search.
  • by BitZtream ( 692029 ) on Friday February 26, 2010 @03:38PM (#31289524)

    Its not 'pulling out of china' in the sense of not having an office there.

    Its pulling out of china in the sense of removing all ties with the government, stopping censoring, pulling offices back out of the country, and then waiting for China to blacklist them. Possibly blacklisting china's address space themselves if the chinese government doesn't get around to it fast enough to prove the point.

  • Re:Google Scholar (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 26, 2010 @03:38PM (#31289526)

    For bio researchers PubMed is far better.
    If your paper is not here, you don't exist as a researcher in any bio-med field.
    I'm thinking there should be others for other fields.

  • Re:Google Scholar (Score:4, Informative)

    by W3bbo ( 727049 ) on Friday February 26, 2010 @03:58PM (#31289744)
    Microsoft Research has their own Academic Search site, which is pretty useful to me (I hardly ever use Google Scholar). It's more focused on academic research papers and the links between authors than the broader net GScholar casts (there's no Patent search, for example) but it is a free alternative. []
  • Re:Rigged survey (Score:2, Informative)

    by Capt. Skinny ( 969540 ) on Friday February 26, 2010 @04:05PM (#31289844)
    Sorry, didn't RTFA. Somewhat and significantly are not lumped together in the survey breakdown [] linked by eldavojohn. Still, providing only three options ('significantly', 'somewhat', and 'not at all') doesn't allow for much precision.
  • Re:Google Scholar (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 26, 2010 @04:45PM (#31290328)

    ISI Web of Knowledge [] is fairly comprehensive, but it isn't free. Many university libraries pay for it though.

  • Re:Google Scholar (Score:4, Informative)

    by Elendil ( 11919 ) on Friday February 26, 2010 @04:50PM (#31290382) Homepage

    > Google Scholar is the most comprehensive index of scholarly articles in the world, period.

    You can't possibly know that, as Google doesn't tell us exactly what's covered by GS.

    > Not only are there no free alternatives, there are no alternatives at all.

    Wrong. The Web of Knowledge and Scopus (commercial) and Scirus (free) are perfectly valid alternatives. Furthermore, a number of studies in various fields have shown that all of these tools, as well as GS, usually return a number of hits that were not found by the others (again, including GS). Therefore, they can always be seen as complementing each other.

    What you cound argue, on another hand, is that GS offers the best quality/price ratio. I for one would accept that.

  • by iNaya ( 1049686 ) on Friday February 26, 2010 @05:48PM (#31291106)
    Heaven forbid that you double check the facts []. Not to mention that there is no worldwide measure of the quality/accuracy of any academic papers released. Without any evidence, but based on general Chinese QA processes, I would imagine that a lot of those papers would be useless.
  • by introspekt.i ( 1233118 ) on Friday February 26, 2010 @05:59PM (#31291228)
    Quantity of documents has not, will not, and will never indicate quality of research, or quantity of actual research performed. It's one of the greatest follies in research metrics and funding of research. I think a much more conservative metric would be the number of Chinese papers accepted to larger, international conferences with international peer review. It's much more reasonable metric than just "quantity" of papers.

"I prefer the blunted cudgels of the followers of the Serpent God." -- Sean Doran the Younger