This guy has built a searchable directory of 107 million research articles
The biggest obstacle to effective research is the inability to access previous scientific work that can help study. Technologist Carl Malamud Tries To Change That With “General Index,” A Huge Article Directory Of Over 107 Million Journal Articles.
Released on October 7, the catalog is free to all, houses an array of over 355 billion words and parts of sentences as well as the articles in which they appear.. The goal, according to Malamud, is to help scientists refer to the work of their peers that may not be legally available to them.
In a conversation with Nature, Malamud said that to avoid violating the copyright of the articles, Malamud has created a repertoire of excerpts of up to five words. So, if a researcher finds something valuable for their work, they can access the publisher’s original file, which may not be free.
Why it’s such a big deal
This can be a game-changer for researchers who are constantly looking for references and studies to support their current projects. Usually, scientists have to stick to publicly available documents or other scientific studies that their institution can pay for.
Malamud told Nature he started his project with the aim of disclosing information that has traditionally been kept under lock and key. Naturally, he encountered legal obstacles. Its focus, however, has shifted from government-produced information to scientific literature.
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The aim was to help scientists with text mining, if not to provide full access to articles, a process still ongoing. The server for the same would be located in India.
Even then, the General Index does not yet have a search engine. To be able to search effectively, scientists would have to upload its content and create their own programs that work like search engines. He hopes, however, that those who are able to create such programs will share it with others.
In total, the compressed files in the General Index are 5 terabytes in size. In terms of the legality of the process, Malamud is “very confident” that it is legal. His goal, he told Nature, is not to bring about a lawsuit, but to “advance science.”
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Editorial Nature. (2021). A giant free index of global research articles published online. Nature.