Google Scholar and Microsoft Academic are extremely useful free resources for searching the academic literature. But your time isn’t free – and it be very time-consuming to select individual records for download, even in you can later import those records in a batch from My library or a Citations list.
Enter Publish or Perish – a handy free piece of software that gives you a search interface and the means to bulk import. Publish or Perish is actually designed for citation analysis, for example to check your own research impact factor or to investigate the prominent researchers in your field. But it’s very useful as a more general searching utility. Having bulk imported to Publish or Perish, you can export to your reference management software of choice, using RIS format. There, you can manipulate the batch of references to suit your needs.
Searching Google Scholar from Publish or Perish is easy – simply search keywords, authors, titles. The challenge is defining how much research you want to download from the first thousand available records.
Microsoft Academic requires a little more effort to set up, as you need a free licence key. I found this via registering on the Microsoft Research API’s site, and subscribing to Project Academic Knowledge.
You can also search PubMed, but the gains are negligible relative to using the NLM interface. It is also possible to search Web of Science and Scopus, but you would need existing subscriptions, probably via an institution.
Here’s where to find Publish or Perish:
Harzing AW. (2007) Publish or Perish, available from https://harzing.com/resources/publish-or-perish.
Please see my posts on the coverage and usefulness of Google Scholar: