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Microsoft Academic is going to shut down

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Microsoft Academic is one of the famous search engines on scholarly literature and for seven years remained a powerful competitor of Google Scholar. However, Microsoft has just announced that it is going retire the Microsoft Academic and associated services including Microsoft Academic Graph on December 31, 2021.

Microsoft Academic remained a vital resource for researchers seeking reliable data on research papers, citations, affiliations and related topics.

Although other databases, such as Web of Science and Scopus, curate similar types of information, Microsoft Academic has been widely used because it is one of the most comprehensive and also freely available, whereas the databases of Web of Science and Scopus need subscription-based access.

Comparison of scientific documents from the period 2008–2017 covered by Scopus, CWTS Web of Science, Dimensions, Crossref, and Microsoft Academic. Credit: https://www.natureindex.com/news-blog/microsoft-academic-graph-discontinued-whats-next.

“Launching a service and sustaining it are two issues. In the demise of Microsoft Academic within 7 years, while the Google Scholar heads to its seventeenth year, are lessons for others, especially their potential alternatives. When your services are free and you lack a resilient model of doing things, sustainability is a challenge”, says Saad Javed, a faculty member at Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology in China.  At the end “survival of the fittest” is the key takeaway of this episode, he further adds.

The sudden discontinuation of Microsoft Academic Graph “shows the fragility of infrastructures that depend on the goodwill of companies for which creating and maintaining these infrastructures does not represent a core activity, and does not bring in significant revenues”, says Ludo Waltman, deputy director of the Centre for Science and Technology Studies at Leiden University in the Netherlands.

“Thank you very much for the years of support and encouragement. We are immensely grateful to have learned and grown from your feedback over the years,” Microsoft wrote at its blog.

In 2019, Microsoft announced to close its eBook store. In 2021, it announced to retire its Azure Blockchain Service. And, now comes the news of the discontinuation of Microsoft Academic. It seems the divorce of Bill Gates and Melinda Gates wasn’t the only big thing happened recently around Microsoft! Microsoft is evolving for better.

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