Quantifying the impact of scientific research is almost always controversial, and there is a need for a uniform method that can be applied across all fields. Increasingly, however, the quantification has been summed up in the impact factor of the journal in which the work is published, which is known to show differences between fields. Here the h-index, a way to summarize an individual's highly cited work, was calculated for journals over a twenty year time span and compared to the size of the journal in four fields, Agriculture, Condensed Matter Physics, Genetics and Heredity and Mathematical Physics. There is a linear log-log relationship between the h-index and the size of the journal: the larger the journal, the more likely it is to have a high h-index. The four fields cannot be separated from each other suggesting that this relationship applies to all fields. A strike rate index (SRI) based on the log relationship of the h-index and the size of the journal shows a similar distribution in the four fields, with similar thresholds for quality, allowing journals across diverse fields to be compared to each other. The SRI explains more than four times the variation in citation counts compared to the impact factor.
The term "Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM)" covers a variety of approaches to medical theory and practice, which are not commonly accepted by representatives of conventional medicine. In the past two decades, these approaches have been studied in various areas of medicine. Although there appears to be a growing number of scientific publications on CAM, the complete spectrum of complementary therapies still requires more information about published evidence. A majority of these research publications are still not listed in electronic bibliographical databases such as MEDLINE. However, with a growing demand by patients for such therapies, physicians increasingly need an overview of scientific publications on CAM. Bearing this in mind, CAMbase, a bibliographical database on CAM was launched in order to close this gap. It can be accessed online free of charge or additional costs.
The user can peruse more than 80,000 records from over 30 journals and periodicals on CAM, which are stored in CAMbase. A special search engine performing syntactical and semantical analysis of textual phrases allows the user quickly to find relevant bibliographical information on CAM. Between August 2003 and July 2006, 43,299 search queries, an average of 38 search queries per day, were registered focussing on CAM topics such as acupuncture, cancer or general safety aspects. Analysis of the requests led to the conclusion that CAMbase is not only used by scientists and researchers but also by physicians and patients who want to find out more about CAM.
Closely related to this effort is our aim to establish a modern library center on Complementary Medicine which offers the complete spectrum of a modern digital library including a document delivery-service for physicians, therapists, scientists and researchers.
In an attempt to identify motivating factors involved in decisions to publish in open access and open archives (OA) journals, individual interviews with biomedical faculty members at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-Chapel Hill) and Duke University, two major research universities, were conducted. The interviews focused on faculty identified as early adopters of OA/free full-text publishing.
Searches conducted in PubMed and PubMed Central identified faculty from the two institutions who have published works in OA/free full-text journals. The searches targeted authors with multiple OA citations during a specified 18 month period. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with the most prolific OA authors at each university. Individual interviews attempted to determine whether the authors were aware they published in OA journals, why they chose to publish in OA journals, what factors influenced their publishing decisions, and their general attitude towards OA publishing models.
Results & Discussion
Fourteen interviews were granted and completed. Respondents included a fairly even mix of Assistant, Associate and Full professors. Results indicate that when targeting biomedical faculty at UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke, speed of publication and copyright retention are unlikely motivating factors or incentives for the promotion of OA publishing. In addition, author fees required by some open access journals are unlikely barriers or disincentives.
It appears that publication quality is of utmost importance when choosing publication venues in general, while free access and visibility are specifically noted incentives for selection of OA journals. Therefore, free public availability and increased exposure may not be strong enough incentives for authors to choose open access over more traditional and respected subscription based publications, unless the quality issue is also addressed.
The Internet is the world's largest network of information, communication and services. Although the Internet is widely used in medicine and has made significant impact in research, training and patient care, few studies had explored the extent to which Nigerian physicians use Internet resources for patient care. The objective of this study was to assess physicians' use of the Internet for health information for patient care.
172 physicians at the University College hospital (UCH) Ibadan, Nigeria; completed a 31-item, anonymous, standardized questionnaire. The Epi-Info software was used for data analysis.
The mean age of the respondents was 31.95 years (SD 4.94). Virtually all (98%) the respondents had used the Internet; 76% accessed it from cyber cafes. E-mail was the most commonly used Internet service (64%). Ninety percent of the respondents reported they had obtained information from the Internet for patient care; of this number, 76.2% had searched a database. The database most recently searched was MEDLINE/PubMed in 99% of cases. Only 7% of the respondents had ever searched the Cochrane Library. More than half (58.1%) perceived they had no confidence to download full-text articles from online sources such as the Health Internetwork Access to Research Initiative (HINARI). Multiple barriers to increased use of the Internet were identified including poor availability of broadband (fast connection speed) Internet access, lack of information searching skills, cost of access and information overload.
Physicians' use of the Internet for health information for patient care was widespread but use of evidenced-based medicine resources such as Cochrane Library, Up-to-date and Clinical Evidence was minimal. Awareness and training in the use of EBM resources for patient care is needed. Introduction of EBM in the teaching curriculum will enhance the use of EBM resources by physicians for patient care.
This paper examines how the adoption of a subject-specific library service has changed the way in which its users interact with a digital library. The LitMiner text-analysis application was developed to enable biologists to explore gene relationships in the published literature. The application features a suite of interfaces that enable users to search PubMed as well as local databases, to view document abstracts, to filter terms, to select gene name aliases, and to visualize the co-occurrences of genes in the literature. At each of these stages, LitMiner offers the functionality of a digital library. Documents that are accessible online are identified by an icon. Users can also order documents from their institution's library collection from within the application. In so doing, LitMiner aims to integrate digital library services into the research process of its users.
This integration of digital library services into the research process of biologists results in increased access to the published literature.
In order to make better use of their collections, digital libraries should customize their services to suit the research needs of their patrons.
The Arizona Health Sciences Library has collaborated with clinical faculty to develop a federated search engine that is useful for meeting real-time clinical information needs. This article proposes a technology mediation role for the reference librarian that was inspired by the project, and describes the collaborative model used for developing technology-mediated services for targeted users.
The North Carolina (NC) Area Health Education Center's (AHEC) Digital Library (ADL) is a web portal designed to meet the information needs of health professionals across the state by pulling together a set of resources from numerous different sources and linking a pool of users to only the resources for which they have eligibility. Although the ADL was designed with the primary purpose of linking health care professionals to a set of licensed resources, the ADL also contains a significant number of links to free resources. These resources are available to any ADL member logging into their ADL account and to guest visitors to the ADL. While there are regular assessments of the subscription resources in the ADL as to utility and frequency of use, up until this point there has been no systematic analysis of the use of the overall set of free resources. It was decided to undertake an examination of the usage of ADL free resources over a 6-month period to analyze the utility of these resources to both ADL members and guests.
Each time a resource is accessed through the ADL, it is logged in a table. This study used a SQL query to pull every free resource accessed between November 1, 2005 and April 30, 2006. An additional query also pulled the user information for each free resource accessed. Once the queries of the database were complete, the results were imported into an Excel spreadsheet and analyzed using basic descriptive statistics.
The vast majority of resource use through the ADL is to licensed resources. There are 2056 free resource URLs in the ADL, to which 1351 were linked out, meaning there was at least one link out to 65% of the free resources. The single most popular free resource was PubMed with 4803 link outs or nearly 20% of the total link outs to free resources. The breakdown of free resource use by different use groups indicates that the highest percentage of use of free resources was by guests followed by institutional affiliates and AHEC Faculty/Staff. The next 3 highest user groups accessing free resources are: paid members, preceptors, and residents.
The only free resource capturing a significant number of link outs is the free link to PubMed. This reflects the importance placed on traditional medical literature searching by the ADL clinical user base. Institutional affiliates access free resources through the ADL with the second highest frequency of all the user groups. Finally, in analyzing use of free resources, it is important to note the overall limitations of this survey. While link outs are excellent indicators of frequency of use they do not provide any information about the ultimate usefulness of the resource being accessed. Further studies would need to examine not only the quantitative use of resources, but also their qualitative importance to the user.
Medical practice today requires evaluating large amounts of information which should be available at all times. This information is found most easily in a digital form. Some information has already been evaluated for validity (evidence based medicine sources) and some is in unevaluated form (paper and online journals). In order to improve access to digital information, the School of Clinical Medicine and Research at the University of the West Indies and Queen Elizabeth Hospital decided to enhance the library by offering online full text medical articles and evidence based medicine sources. The aim of this paper is to evaluate the relative value of online journal commercial products available for a small hospital and medical school library.
Three reference standards were chosen to represent the ideal list of core periodicals for a broad range of medical care: 2 Brandon/Hill selected lists of journals for the small medical library (BH and BH core) and the academic medical library core journal collection chosen for the Florida State University College of Medicine Medical Library. Six commercially available collections were compared to the reference standards and to the current paper journal subscription list as regards to number of journals matched and cost per journal matched. Ease of use and presence of secondary sources were also considered.
The cost per journal matched ranged from US $ 3194 to $ 81. Because of their low subscription prices, the Biomedical Reference Collection and Proquest products were the most cost beneficial. However, they provided low coverage of the ideal lists (12 – 17% and 21–32% respectively) and contained significant embargoes on current editions, were not user friendly and contained no secondary sources. The Ovid Brandon/Hill Plus Collection overcame these difficulties but had a much higher cost-benefit range while providing higher coverage of the ideal lists (14–47%).
After considering costs, benefits, ease of use, embargoes, presence of secondary sources (ACP Journal Club, DARE), the Ovid Brandon/Hill Plus Collection was the best choice for our hospital considering our budget. However, the option to individually select our own journal list from Ovid and pay per journal has a certain appeal as well.
Researchers turn to citation tracking to find the most influential articles for a particular topic and to see how often their own published papers are cited. For years researchers looking for this type of information had only one resource to consult: the Web of Science from Thomson Scientific. In 2004 two competitors emerged – Scopus from Elsevier and Google Scholar from Google. The research reported here uses citation analysis in an observational study examining these three databases; comparing citation counts for articles from two disciplines (oncology and condensed matter physics) and two years (1993 and 2003) to test the hypothesis that the different scholarly publication coverage provided by the three search tools will lead to different citation counts from each.
Eleven journal titles with varying impact factors were selected from each discipline (oncology and condensed matter physics) using the Journal Citation Reports (JCR). All articles published in the selected titles were retrieved for the years 1993 and 2003, and a stratified random sample of articles was chosen, resulting in four sets of articles. During the week of November 7–12, 2005, the citation counts for each research article were extracted from the three sources. The actual citing references for a subset of the articles published in 2003 were also gathered from each of the three sources.
For oncology 1993 Web of Science returned the highest average number of citations, 45.3. Scopus returned the highest average number of citations (8.9) for oncology 2003. Web of Science returned the highest number of citations for condensed matter physics 1993 and 2003 (22.5 and 3.9 respectively). The data showed a significant difference in the mean citation rates between all pairs of resources except between Google Scholar and Scopus for condensed matter physics 2003. For articles published in 2003 Google Scholar returned the largest amount of unique citing material for oncology and Web of Science returned the most for condensed matter physics.
This study did not identify any one of these three resources as the answer to all citation tracking needs. Scopus showed strength in providing citing literature for current (2003) oncology articles, while Web of Science produced more citing material for 2003 and 1993 condensed matter physics, and 1993 oncology articles. All three tools returned some unique material. Our data indicate that the question of which tool provides the most complete set of citing literature may depend on the subject and publication year of a given article.
The changing landscape of scholarly publication and increasing journal costs have resulted in a need for proactive behavior in libraries. At Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, a group of librarians joined forces to bring these issues to the attention of faculty and to begin a dialog leading to change. This commentary describes a comprehensive program undertaken to raise faculty awareness of scholarly communications issues. In addition to raising faculty interest in the issues at hand, the endeavor also highlights an area where library liaisons can increase their communication with the units they serve.
The Center for Disability Resources (CDR) Library is the largest collection of its kind in the Southeastern United States, consisting of over 5,200 books, videos/DVDs, brochures, and audiotapes covering a variety of disability-related topics, from autism to transition resources. The purpose of the library is to support the information needs of families, faculty, students, staff, and other professionals in South Carolina working with individuals with disabilities. The CDR Library is funded on a yearly basis; therefore, maintaining high usage is crucial. A variety of promotional efforts have been used to attract new patrons to the library. Anyone in South Carolina can check out materials from the library, and most of the patrons use the library remotely by requesting materials, which are then mailed to them. The goal of this project was to identify areas of low geographic usage as a means of identifying locations for future library marketing efforts.
Nearly four years worth of library statistics were compiled in a spreadsheet that provided information per county on the number of checkouts, the number of renewals, and the population. Five maps were created using ArcView GIS software to create visual representations of patron checkout and renewal behavior per county.
Out of the 46 counties in South Carolina, eight counties never checked out materials from the library. As expected urban areas and counties near the library's physical location have high usage totals.
The visual representation of the data made identification of low usage regions easier than using a standalone database with no visual-spatial component. The low usage counties will be the focus of future Center for Disability Resources Library marketing efforts. Due to the impressive visual-spatial representations created with Geographic Information Systems, which more efficiently communicate information than stand-alone database information can, librarians may benefit from the software's use as a supplemental tool for tracking library usage and planning promotional efforts.
Recent research has shown a backlash against the enthusiastic promotion of technological solutions as replacements for traditional educational content delivery. Many institutions, including the University of Virginia, have committed staff and resources to supporting state-of-the-art, showpiece educational technology projects. However, the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library has taken the approach of helping Health Sciences faculty be more comfortable using technology in incremental ways for instruction and research presentations. In July 2004, to raise awareness of self-service multimedia resources for instructional and professional development needs, the Library conducted a "Multimedia Bootcamp" for nine Health Sciences faculty and fellows.
Program stewardship by a single Library faculty member contributed to the delivery of an integrated learning experience. The amount of time required to attend the sessions and complete homework was the maximum fellows had to devote to such pursuits. The benefit of introducing technology unfamiliar to most fellows allowed program instructors to start everyone at the same baseline while not appearing to pass judgment on the technology literacy skills of faculty. The combination of wrapping the program in the trappings of a fellowship and selecting fellows who could commit to a majority of scheduled sessions yielded strong commitment from participants as evidenced by high attendance and a 100% rate of assignment completion. Response rates to follow-up evaluation requests, as well as continued use of Media Studio resources and Library expertise for projects begun or conceived during Bootcamp, bode well for the long-term success of this program.
An incremental approach to integrating technology with current practices in instruction and presentation provided a supportive yet energizing environment for Health Sciences faculty. Keys to this program were its faculty focus, traditional hands-on instruction, unrestricted access to technology tools and support, and inclusion of criteria for evaluating when multimedia can augment pedagogical aims.
Innovative biomedical librarians and information specialists who want to expand their roles as expert searchers need to know about profound changes in biology and parallel trends in text mining. In recent years, conceptual biology has emerged as a complement to empirical biology. This is partly in response to the availability of massive digital resources such as the network of databases for molecular biologists at the National Center for Biotechnology Information. Developments in text mining and hypothesis discovery systems based on the early work of Swanson, a mathematician and information scientist, are coincident with the emergence of conceptual biology. Very little has been written to introduce biomedical digital librarians to these new trends. In this paper, background for data and text mining, as well as for knowledge discovery in databases (KDD) and in text (KDT) is presented, then a brief review of Swanson's ideas, followed by a discussion of recent approaches to hypothesis discovery and testing. 'Testing' in the context of text mining involves partially automated methods for finding evidence in the literature to support hypothetical relationships. Concluding remarks follow regarding (a) the limits of current strategies for evaluation of hypothesis discovery systems and (b) the role of literature-based discovery in concert with empirical research. Report of an informatics-driven literature review for biomarkers of systemic lupus erythematosus is mentioned. Swanson's vision of the hidden value in the literature of science and, by extension, in biomedical digital databases, is still remarkably generative for information scientists, biologists, and physicians.
The Scopus database provides access to STM journal articles and the references included in those articles, allowing the searcher to search both forward and backward in time. The database can be used for collection development as well as for research. This review provides information on the key points of the database and compares it to Web of Science. Neither database is inclusive, but complements each other. If a library can only afford one, choice must be based in institutional needs.
The number of scientific journals has become so large that individuals, institutions and institutional libraries cannot completely store their physical content. In order to prioritize the choice of quality information sources, librarians and scientists are in need of reliable decision aids. The "impact factor" (IF) is the most commonly used assessment aid for deciding which journals should receive a scholarly submission or attention from research readership. It is also an often misunderstood tool. This narrative review explains how the IF is calculated, how bias is introduced into the calculation, which questions the IF can or cannot answer, and how different professional groups can benefit from IF use.
Relevance assessment is a major problem in the evaluation of information retrieval systems. The work presented here introduces a new parameter, "Relevance Similarity", for the measurement of the variation of relevance assessment. In a situation where individual assessment can be compared with a gold standard, this parameter is used to study the effect of such variation on the performance of a medical information retrieval system. In such a setting, Relevance Similarity is the ratio of assessors who rank a given document same as the gold standard over the total number of assessors in the group.
The study was carried out on a collection of Critically Appraised Topics (CATs). Twelve volunteers were divided into two groups of people according to their domain knowledge. They assessed the relevance of retrieved topics obtained by querying a meta-search engine with ten keywords related to medical science. Their assessments were compared to the gold standard assessment, and Relevance Similarities were calculated as the ratio of positive concordance with the gold standard for each topic.
The similarity comparison among groups showed that a higher degree of agreements exists among evaluators with more subject knowledge. The performance of the retrieval system was not significantly different as a result of the variations in relevance assessment in this particular query set.
In assessment situations where evaluators can be compared to a gold standard, Relevance Similarity provides an alternative evaluation technique to the commonly used kappa scores, which may give paradoxically low scores in highly biased situations such as document repositories containing large quantities of relevant data.
Web-based searching is the accepted contemporary mode of retrieving relevant literature, and retrieving as many full text articles as possible is a typical prerequisite for research success. In most cases only a proportion of references will be directly accessible as digital reprints through displayed links. A large number of references, however, have to be verified in library catalogues and, depending on their availability, are accessible as print holdings or by interlibrary loan request.
The problem of verifying local print holdings from an initial retrieval set of citations can be solved using Z39.50, an ANSI protocol for interactively querying library information systems. Numerous systems include Z39.50 interfaces and therefore can process Z39.50 interactive requests. However, the programmed query interaction command structure is non-intuitive and inaccessible to the average biomedical researcher. For the typical user, it is necessary to implement the protocol within a tool that hides and handles Z39.50 syntax, presenting a comfortable user interface.
PMD2HD is a web tool implementing Z39.50 to provide an appropriately functional and usable interface to integrate into the typical workflow that follows an initial PubMed literature search, providing users with an immediate asset to assist in the most tedious step in literature retrieval, checking for subscription holdings against a local online catalogue.
PMD2HD can facilitate literature access considerably with respect to the time and cost of manual comparisons of search results with local catalogue holdings. The example presented in this article is related to the library system and collections of the German Cancer Research Centre. However, the PMD2HD software architecture and use of common Z39.50 protocol commands allow for transfer to a broad range of scientific libraries using Z39.50-compatible library information systems.
Alternative models of subsidizing scholarly publishing and dissemination have germinated and gathered momentum in the fertile soil of dissatisfaction. Like the stubborn spring dandelion that needs but a small crack in the sidewalk to flower boldly, the first flowers of Open Access in library literature, including Biomedical Digital Libraries, have sensed their opportunity to change the existing paradigm of giving away our scholarship and intellectual property, only to buy it back for the privilege of knowing it can be read. Will biomedical digital library and informatics researchers understand their role in a new era of Open Access simply by desiring an immediate uninhibited global audience and recognizing the necessity of open access peer-reviewed literature to become self-sufficient?
In late 2004 Google announced two major projects, the unveiling of Google Scholar and a major expansion of the Google Print digitization program. Both projects have generated discussion within the library and research communities, and Google Print has received significant media attention.
This commentary describes exciting educational possibilities stimulated by Google Scholar, and argues for caution regarding the Google Print project.
The PubMed database contains nearly 15 million references from more than 4,800 biomedical journals. In general, authors of scientific articles are addressed by their last name and forename initial.
In general, names can be too common and not unique enough to be search criteria. Today, Ph.D. students, other researchers and women publish scientific work. A person may not only have one name but several names and publish under each name. A Unique Scientist ID could help to address people in peer-to-peer (P2P) networks. As a starting point, perhaps PubMed could generate and manage such a scientist ID.
A Unique Scientist ID would improve knowledge management in science. Unfortunately in some of the publications, and then within the online databases, only one letter abbreviates the author's forename. A common name with only one initial could retrieve pertinent citations, but include many false drops (retrieval matching searched criteria but indisputably irrelevant).
Learning the exact demographic characteristics of a neighborhood in which a public library serves, assists the collection development librarian in building an appropriate collection. Gathering that demographic information can be a lengthy process, and then formatting the information for the neighborhood in question becomes arduous.
As society ages and the methods for health care evolve, people may take charge of their own health. With this prospectus, public libraries should consider creating a consumer health collection to assist the public in their health care needs. Using neighborhood demographic information can inform the collection development librarians as to the dominant age groups, sex, and races within the neighborhood. With this information, appropriate consumer health materials may be assembled in the public library.
In order to visualize the demographics of a neighborhood, the computer program ArcView GIS (geographic information systems) was used to create maps for specified areas. The neighborhood data was taken from the U.S. Census Department's annual census and library addresses were accumulated through a free database. After downloading the census block information from the data was manipulated with ArcView GIS and queried to produce maps displaying the requested neighborhood demographics to view in respect to libraries.
ArcView GIS produced maps displaying public libraries and requested demographics. After viewing the maps the collection development librarian can see exactly what populations are served by the library and adjust the library's collection accordingly.
ArcView GIS can be used to produce maps displaying the communities that libraries serve, spot boundaries, be it "man-made or natural," that exist prohibiting customer service, and assist collection development librarians in justifying their purchases for a dedicated consumer health collection or resources in general.
With the rapid expansion of scientific research, the ability to effectively find or integrate new domain knowledge in the sciences is proving increasingly difficult. Efforts to improve and speed up scientific discovery are being explored on a number of fronts. However, much of this work is based on traditional search and retrieval approaches and the bibliographic citation presentation format remains unchanged.
The Telemakus KnowledgeBase System provides flexible new tools for creating knowledgebases to facilitate retrieval and review of scientific research reports. In formalizing the representation of the research methods and results of scientific reports, Telemakus offers a potential strategy to enhance the scientific discovery process. While other research has demonstrated that aggregating and analyzing research findings across domains augments knowledge discovery, the Telemakus system is unique in combining document surrogates with interactive concept maps of linked relationships across groups of research reports.
Based on how scientists conduct research and read the literature, the Telemakus KnowledgeBase System brings together three innovations in analyzing, displaying and summarizing research reports across a domain: (1) research report schema, a document surrogate of extracted research methods and findings presented in a consistent and structured schema format which mimics the research process itself and provides a high-level surrogate to facilitate searching and rapid review of retrieved documents; (2) research findings, used to index the documents, allowing searchers to request, for example, research studies which have studied the relationship between neoplasms and vitamin E; and (3) visual exploration interface of linked relationships for interactive querying of research findings across the knowledgebase and graphical displays of what is known as well as, through gaps in the map, what is yet to be tested. The rationale and system architecture are described and plans for the future are discussed.