[Asis-l] Garfield E "Fast-breaking Hot Papers" The Scientist 16[8]:10, Apr . 15, 2002

Garfield, Eugene Garfield at codex.cis.upenn.edu
Tue Jun 4 16:50:53 EDT 2002

The Scientist 16[8]:10, Apr. 15, 2002


    Fast-Breaking Hot Papers

    By Eugene Garfield

    In the April 1 issue,(1) I discussed new gratis features that are now
accessible from the Institute for Scientific Information: highly cited
authors at
www.isihighlycited.com and the editorial sections of Essential Science
Indicators at
www.in-cites.com, www.esi-topics.com, and www.sciencewatch.com. As I wrote
then, I founded
ISI in 1954, but I am no longer a shareholder, although I retain an office
the title of chairman emeritus.

      Essential Science Indicators and its editorial features such as
Fast-Breaking Papers (in www.esi-topics.com) represent an expansion of
similar past
endeavors well known to long-time readers of Current Contents or The
Scientist. My
essays, containing descriptions of these efforts, appeared regularly in

    These essays and all my other publications over a 45-year period can be
accessed free at www.eugenegarfield.org.

      It was not obvious in the early days of ISI that the Science Citation
Index could be used to identify significant "current" research. Due to time
lags in
publication and citation, it was generally assumed that this was not
possible because of
a seemingly inherent lack of currency in citation data. Among science
journals, the
average cited reference is about six years old and somewhat less for life

      What was overlooked, however, was the fact that, even just after World
War II, citation of significant breakthroughs usually was quite rapid. So it
not a trivial discovery to recognize that analysis of citations to the
latest three
months' literature could detect a small but significant group of "hot
papers," which soon
blossomed into highly cited papers, new specialty areas, research fronts,
colleges, and even journals. 

      Hot papers are regularly reported in ISI's bimonthly newsletter
Science Watch. Readers of The Scientist are familiar with our selective
reporting on
these Hot Papers, which is undoubtedly one of our most popular features. The
format of
these articles has evolved over time. In the early days, they consisted of
commentaries by the papers' authors, giving their take on why the papers
were highly cited.
It seems a truism, but the best way to get featured in the 'Hot Papers'
section is
to publish a significant paper that is quickly recognized as a breakthrough
of one
kind or another. 

      Today, Hot Papers are analyzed by journalists in consultation with the
lead authors, as in the mammalian clock piece by Karen Young Kreeger. Soon
we'll add
another dimension to this section by featuring articles written by
who will bring you up to date on the research front involved. As part of
their preparation,
I will be providing authors with a unique perspective on the
background of the topic. More about that in a forthcoming issue.

       Eugene Garfield (egarfield at the-scientist.com)is president and editor
in chief of The Scientist.

    1. E. Garfield, "Highly cited authors," The Scientist, 16[7]:10, April
1, 2002.

The Scientist 16[8]:10, Apr. 15, 2002

When responding, please attach my original message
Eugene Garfield, PhD.  email: garfield at codex.cis.upenn.edu 
home page: www.eugenegarfield.org
Tel: 215-243-2205 Fax 215-387-1266
President, The Scientist LLC. www.the-scientist.com
Chairman Emeritus, ISI www.isinet.com
Past President, American Society for Information Science and Technology
(ASIS&T)  www.asis.org

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