accuracy of Thomson data

Thomas Krichel krichel at OPENLIB.ORG
Thu Dec 20 10:40:30 EST 2007

  On the ISI accuracy debate, here is an interesting 
  contribution by Mark Doyle on the PAM mailing list.


  Thomas Krichel          
                                               skype: thomaskrichel


On Dec 20, 2007, at 8:35 AM, A. Ben Wagner wrote:

> Note also the errors are often not Thomson's fault,
> but the result of notoriously poor citation checking by journal
> authors and
> editors.  And it seems to be getting worse in the Internet age when
> any one
> including a 5th grader can put a bibliography out on the web.

This simply is not true. Most, if not all, major publishers (and
many, many more) now check references against CrossRef and get DOIs.
In doing the PROLA archive, we tagged references for material from
1893 to 1995 and there was about a 10% error rate in citations over
this time period. Nowadays, the error rate in our citations is well
under 1% because of CrossRef. For PRL and other APS journals (and
even Nature), we have found error rates (these are undercounts) in
ISI's data ranging from about 17% to 25% when comparing Web of
Science and JCR data. It is inexcusable really. ISI could be doing
MUCH better for WoS and JCR by using XML references and metadata
tagged with DOIs from publishers to feed their process, but they have
shown little interest in doing this (at least for our material).
Scopus, for instance, gets data about our citations from us this way.


Mark Doyle
Assistant Director, Journal Information Systems
The American Physical Society

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