free html hit counter Google Sued Over Scholar - John Battelle's Search Blog

Google Sued Over Scholar

By - December 10, 2004


The American Chemical Society yesterday filed a complaint against Google, claiming the new Google Scholar infringes on its own product, called SciFinder Scholar.

You kind of have to love a place that has a “molecule of the week” on its website (that’s Nafion on the left, in case you’re wondering…), and SciFinder is certainly in the same business, to a point…but is “Scholar” protected? Maybe. But I sense something else is going on. Reading the story, the “aha” was not hard to find:

ACS’s Chemical Abstracts Service estimates that about 1,000 colleges and universities have bought the service, which provides access to all of CAS’s databases, including information on journal and patent references, substance information, regulated chemicals, chemical reactions, and chemical supplier information.

Aha! Google Scholar is free. SciFinder is paid. If Google Scholar wins out, SciFinder loses. They can’t sue Google for making information free, but they can sue for trademark. Good luck, ACS. I think you’re going to need it.

Thanks, Ross.

Update: Gary has the complaint over on Resourceshelf…

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2 thoughts on “Google Sued Over Scholar

  1. Doc says:

    But do you know how much SciFinder access costs? As a chemistry PhD student at Cambridge (UK), I know it must be a hell of a lot, cause we can’t afford even one licence!!

  2. dda says:

    Depending on whether an institution tries to subscribe on its own, or through a consortium (a bunch of Unis together), access to ACS’s journals/PDF can be as expensive as 8,000$ a journal, if memory serves…

    Moreover, whether the search is free (Google) or paid (SciFinder, Scopus, EJS, SwetsWise, etc) is barely relevant in itself. Really, what publishers (hello Elesevier, Blackwell, Taylor & Francis, etc>?) are selling is access to the full-text of the articles. This is why they also sell separately the metadata to link directly from a university’s search engine to the articles. Access being granted only if you have paid the hefty subscription price per subscription or per package. ACS is also very commercial acute, for a non-profit society: it sells access to its electronic PDF files with a “moving wall” policy: from January 1, 2005, journals published in 2000 will be transferred to the archives package. Institutions subscribing to the “current years” package won’t be able to see access them any longer, unless they buy the rights for archives.
    Pretty damn good business…