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On Display: Google Scholar Adds Quick Abstracts and Journal Branding to Mobile Search Results

On Display: Google Scholar Adds Quick Abstracts and Journal Branding to Mobile Search Results

Full access to Quick Abstracts on mobile devices gives researchers an easier way to find journal articles

On March 21, Google Scholar announced a significant update to its mobile search platform. In an effort to enhance the mobile user experience, search results now include a Quick Abstract. This update is only applicable to mobile devices and will not apply to desktop computers, laptops, or tablets. The update is available across multiple browsers and compatible with both Apple iOS and Android operating systems.

How it works

This new feature continues to show that mobile usage and readership are becoming more prevalent – even within scientific and scholarly journals. In fact, according to Zenith Media, mobile devices will drive almost 80% of global internet usage in 2018.

With emerging technologies, researchers are finding new ways to utilize mobile devices throughout the scientific and publication processes. This update will make it easier to search for journal content through a mobile device and allow users to find and read Quick Abstracts without having to click away from Google Scholar.



The Allen Press online publishing platform, Pinnacle, already has this new feature available. When users search Google Scholar and click on a search result using a mobile device, a quick preview opens up automatically.

Through a new swipe interface, users can swipe left and right to flip through article search results. Users can read the full abstract as well as explore related and cited articles, which are displayed at the bottom of the preview. A link to view the article on the journal website or download a PDF is also displayed.



This new feature will save users time and clicks and provides researchers with an improved search experience. Searchers using a mobile device can now more easily decipher which scientific or scholarly article will be most beneficial to their research needs. Users can search, browse, and read abstracts without ever leaving the Google Scholar site.



Won’t this decrease journal website traffic?

Driving journal website traffic and article usage is a priority for just about every publisher. There is some concern that Google Scholar may cannibalize journal website traffic now that abstracts are available directly in the search results.

The truth of the matter is that mobile journal usage still only represents a fraction of total traffic. Additionally, the Pinnacle platform has been configured so that Quick Abstract views will count towards article usage in both Pinnacle usage reports and COUNTER reports. Therefore, this update should actually increase these journal website metrics.

While Pinnacle usage reports and COUNTER reports will count these views as article usage, Google Analytics reports will not. Thus, this new feature could negatively affect a journal’s Google Analytics metrics as Quick Abstract views will not count towards sessions, users, or pageviews.

If a journal has mobile advertising on its website, Quick Abstracts will also negatively affect ad impressions as users can now stay on Google Scholar instead of reading the abstract on the journal website. For most journals, mobile advertising represents a limited revenue stream; however, as mobile usage continues to grow, it’s important to understand the ramifications of this Google Scholar update.

Website branding on Quick Abstracts can lead to more credibility

There is an additional feature available within the new update. Publishers can now display the journal’s branding at the top of the search results screen. This can help add credibility to the journal and its content, while improving journal awareness. By supplying Google Scholar with an image file of the journal’s logo and the HEX color code, branding can easily be added to all journal articles.



How the Google Scholar Quick Abstracts update can benefit scholarly publishers and researchers

So what does this all mean for researchers and publishers?

For researchers, this update will make finding journals on mobile devices easier. If researchers are in the lab or field, they can view the complete abstract and citations of an article with minimal effort and clicks. They also have the ability to add the article to a favorites list and read the content at a later time – either on a desktop or mobile device.

Publishers will benefit from increased article usage and enhanced branding features. The journal’s contents will be more open and available to the global scholarly community through this update.

What’s next?

Take advantage of this new feature by adding your journal’s branding to the Google Scholar search results. Need help designing your Pinnacle or Google Scholar banner? Allen Press can help design and implement your journal’s branding across both platforms.

Publishers should also keep an eye on journal usage, website traffic and referrals from Google Scholar to track shifts in how users are reaching the journal website.

Our team will continue to monitor this update and provide new information that may be important to the scholarly publishing community. In the meantime, learn more about our end-to-end scholarly publishing services, which includes online publishing, peer review management, managing editing, composition, copyediting and proofreading, as well as publishing management.


About the Author
Laci Wright has 10 years digital marketing experience with a heavy focus in social media marketing. When she isn’t tracking down the latest digital marketing trends, you can find her on a patio with a book.