Re: Locating Cited References on the Web

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Fri, 27 Sep 2002 12:20:32 +0100

On Fri, 27 Sep 2002, [identity removed] wrote:

> Can Paracite eventually make Science Citation Index
> redundant? Can it be a free 'citation index' as
> eprints can replace subscription journals?

No, Paracite is a reference-finder. It can
(and will) be used to enhance archived full-texts by automatically
linking the references they cite, where possible, to their archived
full-texts already on the Web. The idea is that it can be used either
by the author, to automatically locate and link the linkable items in
his reference list, or by an Eprints Archive, automatically helping to
locate and link link references on submission, or by a harvesting service,
returning enhanced full-texts, with tentative reference links -- that were
absent from the original document -- automatically inserted.

Rather than making the ISI Science Citation Index or Web of Science redundant, Paracite is a free tool that ISI too
can use to enhance its own reference-matching capacity, both internally
(as ISI has a certain proportion of internal reference matches, among the
citing and cited items that it does index, that fail to be made because
of garbled reference lists) and externally (as ISI too can enhance its
indexed items with links to non-indexed cited papers that are available
elsewhere on the Web (both free and toll-based).

Besides, the services that are homologous (hence, also potential
"competitors") to ISI's Science Citation Index are services like
(1) Laurence, Giles & Bollacker's remarkable citeseer at NEC which both
finds, harvests and reference-links web-archived papers in computers
science autonomously and
(2) Southampton's own Tim Brody's citebase
which harvests and reference-links the contents of OAI-compliant Archives
-- so far effective only with the Physics Archive
(because it is the only archive so far that has a complete enough set
of papers to be usefully reference-linked internally) but soon to be
enhanced by Paracite, which will add external reference links to texts
(full-texts or abstracts) found elsewhere on the Web (free or toll-based),
just as it can enhance linkage for ISI.

Will competing free services like citeseer and citebase ever supersede
ISI's Science Citation Index? It cannot be denied that there is such a
possibility, but it is conditional on something else that the research
community would need to do first -- something very easy to do, but still
undone as years of doability slip away -- namely, researchers would
first need to make a critical mass of their full-text research output
openly accessible online by self-archiving it. Only then could tools like
paracite, citebase and citeseer be used to reference-link the full-texts.

(An intermediate step, but one that would be no more effortless than
self-archiving the full-texts in OAI compliant Archives, would be to
self-archive the abstracts and reference lists only! But navigating
those textless teasers only might be, for its would-be users, a bit like
(G.B. Shaw's?) hell, where one's desired reproductive partners are present
in the flesh, but lack the requisite concavities or convexities -- to put
Shaw's (?) metaphor in a suitably PC way for contemporary consumption.)

So secondary publishers like ISI can probably rest at least as secure as
primary journal publishers in the fact that the world research community
has so far proved glacially sluggish in moving toward the optimal and
the inevitable, despite all the potential benefits...

Stevan Harnad

NOTE: A complete archive of the ongoing discussion of providing open
access to the peer-reviewed research literature online is available at
the American Scientist September Forum (98 & 99 & 00 & 01 & 02):

Discussion can be posted to:

See also the Budapest Open Access Initiative:

the Free Online Scholarship Movement:

the OAI site:

and the free OAI institutional archiving software site:
Received on Fri Sep 27 2002 - 12:20:32 BST

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