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Google Scholar Gets Personal

A newly launched Google Scholar tool aims provides registered users who have public profiles with personalized picks of recommended papers based on citation data and other factors.

"Often the spark for discovery comes from making a new connection or looking in a direction that you hadn't yet considered and that … you wouldn't have known to look for," writes software engineer James Connor at the Google Scholar blog. "We hope to start fostering these new connections with Scholar Updates."

Connor writes:

We analyze your articles (as identified in your Scholar profile), scan the entire web looking for new articles relevant to your research, and then show you the most relevant articles when you visit Scholar. We determine relevance using a statistical model that incorporates what your work is about, the citation graph between articles, the fact that interests can change over time, and the authors you work with and cite.

"Google Scholar Updates correctly identified a paper of interest to me," writes UKOLN's Brian Kelly at his blog. Over at The Tree of Life, Jonathan Eisen from the University of California, Davis, calls the new tool "a big step forward in sifting through the scientific literature." Science of the Invisible's AJ Cann says that Scholar Updates "looks potentially useful so far" and "seems to be on the money with suggested content." He worries, though, that because "it does not filter for quality … there are a lot of low-quality conference papers."

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.