Garfield, Narin, and PageRank

Stephen J Bensman notsjb at LSU.EDU
Tue Dec 17 11:20:27 EST 2013

My article "Eugene Garfield, Francis Narin, and PageRank: The Theoretical Bases of the Google Search Engine" is now available on arXiv at the following URL:

I have tweaked its abstract so that it now reads as follows:


This paper presents a test of the validity of using Google Scholar (GS) to evaluate the publications of researchers. It does this by first comparing the theoretical premises on which the GS search engine PageRank algorithm operates to those on which Garfield based his theory of citation indexing. It finds that the basic premise is the same, i.e., that subject sets of relevant documents are defined semantically better by linkages than by words. Google incorporated this premise into PageRank, amending it with the addition of the citation influence method developed by Francis Narin and the staff of Computer Horizons, Inc. (CHI). This method weighted more heavily citations from documents which themselves were more heavily cited. Garfield himself essentially had also incorporated this method into his theory of citation indexing by restricting as far as possible the coverage of the Science Citation Index (SCI) to a small multidisciplinary core of journals most heavily cited. From this perspective, PageRank can be considered a further implementation of Garfield's theory of citation index at a higher technical level. Stealing a page from Garfield's book, the paper presents a test of the validity of GS by tracing its citations to the h-index works of 5 Nobel laureates in chemistry-the discipline in which Garfield began his pioneering research-with Anne-Wil Harzing's revolutionary Publish-or-Perish (PoP) software that has established bibliographic and statistical control over the GS database. Most of these works were journal articles, and the rankings of the journals in which they appeared by both total cites (TC) and impact factor (IF) at the time of their publication were analyzed. The results conformed to the findings of Garfield through citation analysis, confirming his law of concentration and his view of the importance of review articles. As a byproduct of this finding, it is shown that Narin had totally misunderstood and mishandled citations from review journals. The evidence of this paper is conclusive: Garfield's theory of citation indexing and PageRank validate each other, and Eugene Garfield is the grandfather of the Web search engine.

If anybody reads this paper and has any quibbles with it,  please contact me, and we will hash it out.


Stephen J Bensman, Ph.D.
LSU Libraries
Lousiana State University
Baton Rouge, LA 70803  USA
E-mail: notsjb at

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