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More articles, fewer citations

As more journal articles go online, only more recent articles tend to be cited, according to a linkurl:study published today;http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/321/5887/395 in Science. In addition, only a small group of journals and articles are being cited, the study found. linkurl:James Evans,;http://sociology.uchicago.edu/people/faculty/evans.shtml a sociologist at the University of Chicago, surveyed a database of 34 million articles, their citations over the past 50 years, and t

By | July 18, 2008

As more journal articles go online, only more recent articles tend to be cited, according to a linkurl:study published today;http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/321/5887/395 in Science. In addition, only a small group of journals and articles are being cited, the study found. linkurl:James Evans,;http://sociology.uchicago.edu/people/faculty/evans.shtml a sociologist at the University of Chicago, surveyed a database of 34 million articles, their citations over the past 50 years, and their online availability. Evans' results suggest that online literature searches yield more recent articles, and cause researchers to cite a less broad and diverse range of articles. Not everyone agrees. linkurl:Carol Tenopir,;http://web.utk.edu/~tenopir/ a professor of information sciences at the University of Tennessee, told linkurl:The Chronicle of Higher Education;http://chronicle.com/daily/2008/07/3870n.htm that her group has found exactly the opposite result when it comes to how many papers researchers are reading. According to her research, which studies when researchers read articles as opposed to cite them, the number of older articles being read has actually increased in the past 10 years, along with the number of different journals read. She attributed the difference in the two studies to the fact that older journals are being put online only recently, and that researchers may read papers for research purposes but not necessarily cite them right away. "We are looking at things differently, but it is surprising how different [the results are]" Tenopir told The Scientist in an Email. "Maybe the...inherent lag for citations explains it a bit."
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Comments

Avatar of: George Garrity

George Garrity

Posts: 4

July 21, 2008

Perhaps these studies are not so much a reflection of the articles being cited as it is the manner in which researchers use the literature.
Avatar of: Michael Zimmer

Michael Zimmer

Posts: 11

July 21, 2008

I think the more recent study hits it. Online databases gives us more access to older articles, and it would be stupid not to use them. However, I think there is a tendency to cite the newest and latest research.\n\nI found when putting my Honours thesis together I could track forward to the most recent research, and backwards to more older research, thanks to handy tools like citation maps. Definitely much better than doing it manually and trying to translate different journals' referencing styles.

July 23, 2008

The increasing number of research journals going on-line is encouraging. What is regretted being their restricted availability for commercial earning despite the fact that almost 90% of the research in various fields is predominently conducted from public funds. There is a tendency on the part of scientists to report their findings in piecemeal by splitting their findings in several papers and get them inconsistently published in diverse journals (which may or may not be globally available uniformly to researchers everywhere) rather than publishing a comprehensive consolidated account of their findings in a single article. This tendency is seen for several reasons; 1. number of papers published is used as a bench-mark for further career advancement; 2. restriction of number of pages or words as a criteria by good journals for accepting publications and 3. rush for publication on the part of researchers before the study is completed and a thorough holistic look is taken over the data. There is no harm if any piece of research is reported based on publications reported several years before if those had remained neglected for some reasons or the other but I have seen research papers being rejected by so called reviewers just because there is no recently published paper being cited in the area (unless otherwise demanded or unavoidably justified, and despite the fact that there had been no research reported in the area beyond the cited papers). I would like the publishers of scientific research journals to make the publications available to all interested in the area of research and development (not necessarily scientists/researchers), because future thrust may come from anywhere, anyone and from any quarter. Inter-disciplinary hybridization of ideas is the hallmark and the undercurrent of a holistic approach to scientific research and progress.

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