“I like the new Clarivate-Impactstory partnership for several reasons….However, the Clarivate PR team…inserted this passage into the press release: “Researchers conducting online searches for scholarly articles frequently get unreliable results that can compromise their work. This is typically because the results omit journal articles behind paid-subscription paywalls or because ‘web-scraping’ utilities return versions of articles that are not peer-reviewed or are in violation of copyright laws.” …
It’s true that search results can be unreliable because they omit paywalled articles. But there are a few problems with the rest of the passage….
* The sentence on web-scraping utilities is obscure. Because it mentions articles that are not peer-reviewed, it seems to be an oblique criticism of preprint repositories. But preprint repositories depend on voluntary author deposits, not web scraping. Moreover, finding preprints in a search is a feature for people who know how to use them, not a bug. It doesn’t make the search less reliable. The criticism misses the target.
* Perhaps the reference to web scraping is an oblique criticism of Sci-Hub. But Sci-Hub focuses on refereed postprints, indeed versions of record, not unrefereed preprints. Moreover, it depends on downloads, even if illicit, not web scraping. The criticism misses the target.
* The final part implies that finding illegal copies of peer-reviewed articles in a search makes the search unreliable. This is false. The writer probably meant to criticize these copies for infringement, but instead criticizes them for unreliability. The criticism misses the target.”