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1.  The "impact factor" revisited 
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.
doi:10.1186/1742-5581-2-7
PMCID: PMC1315333  PMID: 16324222
2.  Relevance similarity: an alternative means to monitor information retrieval systems 
Background
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.1186/1742-5581-2-6
PMCID: PMC1181804  PMID: 16029513
3.  Review of Doody's Core Titles in the Health Sciences 2004 (DCT 2004) 
doi:10.1186/1742-5581-2-5
PMCID: PMC1187867  PMID: 15987527
4.  PMD2HD – A web tool aligning a PubMed search results page with the local German Cancer Research Centre library collection 
Background
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.1186/1742-5581-2-4
PMCID: PMC1187866  PMID: 15982415
5.  Good old days? 
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?
doi:10.1186/1742-5581-2-3
PMCID: PMC1097712  PMID: 15829010
6.  The excitement of Google Scholar, the worry of Google Print 
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.
doi:10.1186/1742-5581-2-2
PMCID: PMC1079792  PMID: 15784147
7.  Do we need a Unique Scientist ID for publications in biomedicine? 
Background
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.
Discussion
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.
Summary
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).
doi:10.1186/1742-5581-2-1
PMCID: PMC1079791  PMID: 15784146

Results 1-7 (7)