I Had a Dream ... about Uncitedness

My first paper proposing the creation of the Science Citation Index® (Science, 122(3159): 108-111, 1955) began with a quotation from P. Thomasson and J.C. Stanley: "The uncritical citation of disputed data by a writer, whether it be deliberate or not, is a serious matter. Of course, knowingly propagandizing unsubstantiated claims is particularly abhorrent, but just as many naïve students may be swayed by unfounded assertions presented by a writer who is unaware of the criticisms. Burie

Eugene Garfield
Jul 5, 1998

My first paper proposing the creation of the Science Citation Index® (Science, 122(3159): 108-111, 1955) began with a quotation from P. Thomasson and J.C. Stanley: "The uncritical citation of disputed data by a writer, whether it be deliberate or not, is a serious matter. Of course, knowingly propagandizing unsubstantiated claims is particularly abhorrent, but just as many naïve students may be swayed by unfounded assertions presented by a writer who is unaware of the criticisms. Buried in scholarly journals, critical notes are increasingly likely to be overlooked with the passage of time, while the studies to which they pertain, having been reported more widely, are apt to be rediscovered."

When the Science Citation Index (SCI®) was finally launched in the sixties, I dreamt that, one day, scholars would use it to routinely avoid the unwitting perpetuation of errors. Today I can still only hope that...