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Table 5 Comparison of Google Scholar and PubMed in systematic review searching

From: The comparative recall of Google Scholar versus PubMed in identical searches for biomedical systematic reviews: a review of searches used in systematic reviews

Google Scholar PubMed
Shows up to 1,000 results Shows all results
Searches the full text of the article, and words on the webpage Searches only bibliographic data and controlled vocabulary (MeSH terms)
No controlled vocabulary available Controlled vocabulary (MeSH terms) added by skilled indexers and searchable (including 'explode’)
Searches the broad aspect of science (filters limiting results to medical articles were removed) Only contains articles on medical topics
No search history available (unable to compare or combine record sets) Detailed search history available, flexibility in combining record sets to create complicated search strategies
Search queries limited to 256 characters No limits on the length of search queries
No truncation allowed. Tilde can be used to search for variants, but cannot be used in OR relationship with other words. GS is said to search for word variants, but this is very rare and the mechanism is unclear. Truncation allowed
Possibly automatic searching for synonyms (details unclear) Automatic Term Mapping (details available)
Field names only for title (complete query) and author names Field names for many fields can be assigned per synonym
No advanced limits (for publication type, human studies and so on) Multiple advanced limits in the database itself, or available from third parties
Cannot accurately limit to search dates (no controlled updates) Different date fields available to limit searches to results before a certain date
Cannot download results in bulk to reference management software Multiple options to download the complete results set to reference management software
Proximity searching only with exact order and exact number of connecting words No proximity search possible