Lens is in my book one of the most interesting Scholarly discovery/ citation index tools to have emerged in 2018. I am not saying this lightly as 2018 was the year crowded with new discovery services like Dimensions, 1Findr , Meta (in closed beta) and more.
Owned by the non-profit Cambia, it promises to be free of charge for all (no freemium model) and further more claims to safeguard your privacy with no use of Google Analytics or other cloud based click-trackers.
Of course all this isn’t worth anything if the tool isn’t useful. Given the dominance of Google Scholar as a discovery tool, there seemingly isn’t much room for another discovery tool. But Lens I think is more than just a simple discovery tool, it actually allows you to explore and analysis the data in ways Google Scholar is unable to match, thanks to a blend of powerful filters, facets , visualization tools and bulk export functions.
In many ways it’s a substitute for citation index tools like Scopus and Web of Science. In particularly it has many features (e.g. easy bulk export of 50k records, visualization tools) that make it suitable if you want to analyse output at institutional scale except it’s totally free.
Given that Lens is free , there seems no reason not to give it a try. Particularly if you have no access to expensive tools like Scopus or Web of Science. Even if you do have access like me, give it a try and compare you might be surprised by how well Lens holds it owns even against expensive tools.