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The role of Web-based information in the scholarly communication of chemists: Citation and content analyses of American Chemical Society Journals



Citation and content analyses of eight American Chemical Society (ACS) journals in a range of fields of chemistry were used to describe the use of Web-based information resources by the authors and readers of the scholarly literature of chemistry. The analyses indicate that even though the number of Web-based information resources has grown steadily over the past decade, chemists are not taking full advantage of freely available Web-based resources. They are, however, making use of the ACS Electronic Supporting Information archive. The content of the Web-based resources that are used is primarily text based, and the URLs are provided in the articles' reference lists and experimental sections. The presence of a reference to a Web-based resource in a chemistry article does not influence its rate of citation, even though the viability of the URLs was found to erode with time. Comparison of citation and online access data reveals that at the highest levels of citation, articles also garner high levels of online access. This was especially true for articles describing a technique or methodology. Even though chemists do not incorporate large numbers of freely available Web-based resources into their publications, an increasingly important component of a chemist's information behavior for the direct support of his or her research is unfettered bench-top access via the Web.

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