To read this content please select one of the options below:

Filter bubbles in interdisciplinary research: a case study on climate and society

Susanne Mikki (Library, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway)
Hemed Ali Al Ruwehy (Library, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway)
Øyvind Liland Gjesdal (Library, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway)
Marta Zygmuntowska (Library, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway)

Library Hi Tech

ISSN: 0737-8831

Article publication date: 11 January 2018

Issue publication date: 9 May 2018




The purpose of this paper is to compare the content of Web of Science (WoS) and Google Scholar (GS) by searching the interdisciplinary field of climate and ancient societies. The authors aim at analyzing the retrieved documents by open availability, received citations, co-authors and type of publication.


The authors searched the services by a defined set of keyword. Data were retrieved and analyzed using a variety of bibliometric tools such as Publish or Perish, Sci2Tool and Gephi. In order to determine the proportion of open full texts based on the WoS result, the authors relocated the records in GS, using an off-campus internet connection.


The authors found that the top 1,000 downloadable and analyzable GS items matched poorly with the items retrieved by WoS. Based on this approach (subject searching), the services appeared complementary rather than similar. Even though the first search results differ considerably by service, almost each single WoS title could be located in GS. Based on GS’s full text recognition, the authors found 74 percent of WoS items openly available and the citation median of these was twice as high as for documents behind paywalls.

Research limitations/implications

Even though the study is a case study, the authors believe that findings are transferable to other interdisciplinary fields. The share of freely available documents, however, may depend on the investigated field and its culture toward open publishing.

Practical implications

Discovering the literature of interdisciplinary fields puts scholars in a challenging situation and requires a better understanding of the existing infrastructures. The authors hope that the paper contributes to that and can advise the research and library communities.


In light of an overwhelming and exponentially growing amount of literature, the bibliometric approach is new in a library context.



Mikki, S., Ruwehy, H.A.A., Gjesdal, Ø.L. and Zygmuntowska, M. (2018), "Filter bubbles in interdisciplinary research: a case study on climate and society", Library Hi Tech, Vol. 36 No. 2, pp. 225-236.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles