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This was forwarded to me.
From: Moshe Vardi <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: CiteSeer's Future
To: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: Fri, 12 Mar 2004 12:59:51 -0600 (CST)
Note that citeseer.org is no available anymore.
You can still access CiteSeer at http://citeseer.ist.psu.edu/
New Database to Track Citations of Online Scholarship
By VINCENT KIERNAN
The company that compiles highly influential databases on the use of
scholarly papers in print has decided to gather similar information on
scholarly works that are disseminated solely online, often without peer
review. The tool could prove a boon to the distribution of scholarship
Thomson ISI announced last month that it would create the Web Citation
Index. The database will list which scholarly works have cited
particular papers published online, said James Pringle, vice president
for development. It also will track citations of traditionally published
works by online papers, but it will remain separate from the company's
database of citations of peer-reviewed journals.
The new database will be tested this year, and the company plans to sell
full access to it in 2005, Mr. Pringle said.
Citation rates of papers in printed journals, as compiled by Thomson ISI
in products such as its Web of Science database, play an important role
in promotion and tenure decisions, particularly in the sciences.
Colleges frequently evaluate scholars in terms of how often their work
is cited and whether they have published it in journals that are highly
cited in general. Some departments have gone as far as to tout the
collective "impact factors" of their faculty members, and college
libraries have used the citation statistics in deciding on whether to
subscribe to expensive scholarly journals.
However, scholars have complained that the lack of similar information
about citations of online papers has discouraged them and their
colleagues from disseminating their papers online, whether on Web sites
and preprint servers or in repositories of papers that have not yet been
The new database may encourage the use of preprint servers, which are
databases containing the full texts of papers that have not yet passed
formal peer review, and other online venues for scholarly research
because scholars will be able to document the impact their work has had
on others, said Mary Case, director of the scholarly-communication
office at the Association of Research Libraries.
"It will make the preprint servers so much more visible," she said.
But Julie M. Hurd, science librarian at the University of Illinois at
Chicago, predicted that the new citation statistics would be slow to
influence online publication because colleges remain leery of it.
"The people who make the promotion and tenure decisions are still stuck
on the model of print," said Ms. Hurd, who is one of the editors of From
Print to Electronic: The Transformation of Scientific Communication
(Information Today, 1996). "The coin of the realm is still the journal
The Web Citation Index will remain separate from Thomson ISI's other
citation index. "There is no particular plan for some sort of integrated
impact factor," said Mr. Pringle, adding that the traditional index
already includes some peer-reviewed scholarly journals that are
The company is collaborating on the Web Citation Index with NEC
Laboratories America, which has developed programs for finding online
papers and analyzing the citations in them. NEC has developed a digital
library of computer-science research, and so the compilation of the Web
Citation Index will probably start with papers in that field, said Mr.
Because most online scholarly materials are in the physical sciences,
with relatively little in the social sciences, he said, he expects the
new index to concentrate on the physical sciences.
But using a computer program to identify the material to be covered by
the index may be a challenge. "The tough part is to find the good
stuff," said George S. Porter, a science librarian at the California
Institute of Technology.
Papers on well-known preprint servers and on Web sites with addresses
ending in ".edu" may be safe bets for NEC's software to index, Mr.
Porter said. "But when you get a bit further afield, it's harder to
recognize scholarly material."
Editors at Thomson ISI will be involved in the indexing process to make
sure that only genuine scholarly papers are covered, Mr. Pringle said.
Copyright © 2004 by The Chronicle of Higher Education