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Article
Publication date: 7 July 2011

Mike Thelwall

Link analysis is an established topic within webometrics. It normally uses counts of links between sets of web sites or to sets of web sites. These link counts are derived…

Abstract

Purpose

Link analysis is an established topic within webometrics. It normally uses counts of links between sets of web sites or to sets of web sites. These link counts are derived from web crawlers or commercial search engines with the latter being the only alternative for some investigations. This paper compares link counts with URL citation counts in order to assess whether the latter could be a replacement for the former if the major search engines withdraw their advanced hyperlink search facilities.

Design/methodology/approach

URL citation counts are compared with link counts for a variety of data sets used in previous webometric studies.

Findings

The results show a high degree of correlation between the two but with URL citations being much less numerous, at least outside academia and business.

Research limitations/implications

The results cover a small selection of 15 case studies and so the findings are only indicative. Significant differences between results indicate that the difference between link counts and URL citation counts will vary between webometric studies.

Practical implications

Should link searches be withdrawn, then link analyses of less well linked non‐academic, non‐commercial sites would be seriously weakened, although citations based on e‐mail addresses could help to make citations more numerous than links for some business and academic contexts.

Originality/value

This is the first systematic study of the difference between link counts and URL citation counts in a variety of contexts and it shows that there are significant differences between the two.

Details

Aslib Proceedings, vol. 63 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0001-253X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 29 June 2012

B.T. Sampath Kumar and K.S. Manoj Kumar

The main purpose of the present study is to examine the availability and persistence of URL citations in two LIS open access journals. It also intended to calculate the…

Abstract

Purpose

The main purpose of the present study is to examine the availability and persistence of URL citations in two LIS open access journals. It also intended to calculate the half‐life period of URL citations cited in journal articles.

Design/methodology/approach

A total of 2,890 URL citations cited in 689 research articles published in LIS journals spanning a period of 14 years (1996‐2009) were extracted. In order to check the accessibility of URL citations, W3C link checker was used. After the initial check, inactive URL citations were listed. Domains and HTTP errors associated with inactive URL citations were identified for further analysis. The half‐life period was calculated using the formula t(h)=[t ln(0.5)]/[ln W(t)−ln W(0)].

Findings

The research findings indicated that 57.61 percent (397 of 689) of articles have URL citations and percentage of URL citations increased from 5.98 percent in 1996 to 27.79 percent in 2009. It was found that 26.08 percent of all citations were not accessible during the time of testing and the majority of errors were due to HTTP 404 error code (not found). The domains.net and.gov were more stable compared to the domains.com/.co,.org, and.edu. The half‐life was computed to be approximately 11.5 years, which compares favorably against earlier research works.

Originality/value

This is a comprehensive study on the availability and persistence of URL citations cited in LIS journals articles spanning a period of 14 years. The findings of the study will be helpful to authors, publishers and editorial staff to improve existing URL citation conventions and to promote URL use to ensure that URL citations are accessible in future.

Details

Aslib Proceedings, vol. 64 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0001-253X

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Article
Publication date: 16 March 2012

Ali Sadat‐Moosavi, Alireza Isfandyari‐Moghaddam and Oranus Tajeddini

This research aims to study the state of online resources cited in scholarly library and information science (LIS) journals which are ranked in ISI and available in the…

Abstract

Purpose

This research aims to study the state of online resources cited in scholarly library and information science (LIS) journals which are ranked in ISI and available in the Emerald database in terms of accessibility and decay.

Design/methodology/approach

Four LIS journals published by Emerald were selected from Thomson Reuters' JCR. The journals' issues from 2005 to 2008 were downloaded directly from the publisher web site and checked in terms of decay and availability of individual cited URLs.

Findings

Original accessibility of studied online resources was 64 percent, which improved to 95 percent. The main adopted strategies that returned more results were using the Wayback Machine and Google, which revived online resources by 17 percent and 12 percent respectively.

Practical implications

To increase the rate of web citations accessibility, some recommendations, including avoiding long URLs, citing documents found in digital collections availability on the web, working through systematic checking of the web citations before publication, getting backup of cited information, using the more stable file formats and domains, and utilizing tools like WebCite®‐enhanced reference and a digital object identifier (DOI®) system are suggested.

Originality/value

A study which examines the accessibility and decay of web citations used by authors of articles published in ISI‐ranked LIS journals available in the Emerald database has not been already done. This paper can thus contribute to the knowledge of this field as well as quality of such literature for web content providers and publishers, authors and researchers.

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Article
Publication date: 3 February 2012

Amirhosein Mardani

The purpose of this paper is to gain knowledge about the status and characteristics of the current web citations in published articles by Iranian researchers in the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to gain knowledge about the status and characteristics of the current web citations in published articles by Iranian researchers in the Science Citation Index (SCI). Besides investigating the growth in the presence of web resources in publications, the paper examines the accessibility and decay of web resources. Furthermore, the author will examine the provided information by the URLs to determine whether the cited contents by the authors signify the same information as the URLs.

Design/methodology/approach

The author used the survey research method. Thus, all documents by Iranian chemistry researchers recorded in the SCI database during 2006‐2009 were identified and then transferred to an Excel base. After a one‐by‐one examination, 46,762 web citations were extracted from a total number of 10,333 documents and were then analyzed, with the aid of two research assistants, in two months time (November and December of 2010), as specified in the research objectives. The citations were categorized into nine groups based on the feedback from the URLs' entries in the Internet Explorer browser.

Findings

The results showed that 46,762 citations (20 percent) of the total 187,823 available citations in the articles included web citations. The proportion percentage of web citations increased from 9 percent in 2006 to 39 percent in 2009. The average number of web citations for every article is 4.52. The most widely cited top level domains in URLs include the.org and.edu with, respectively, 31 percent and 23 percent; and when compared to other domains they reveal a greater tendency for stability. The highest percentage of inactive URLs was found to be associated with the .gov top level domain. Ultimately, 40,954 web citations were rendered accessible, of which 79 percent allowed easy and long‐term access to the authors' information intended in URLs. The decay rate for citations reveals an annual 5.2 percent increase. Long‐time inaccessibility to the authors' same intended information was shown to be mostly from URLs that returned the 404 error and also the URLs that had gone through information update. An about eight year half‐life was estimated for Iran's chemistry publications, which is rather promising in comparison with other fields of study.

Originality/value

The paper offers a quantitative analysis of the state of web citations application among chemistry researchers in Iran and voices concerns related to web citations in the publications in this field. The results of this study may be useful for providers of web contents, authors and editors in the field of chemistry publications.

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Article
Publication date: 9 May 2020

Fayaz Ahmad Loan and Ufaira Yaseen Shah

The purpose of this study is to identify the persistence and decay of uniform resource locator (URLs) associated with Web references. The decaying of Web references is…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to identify the persistence and decay of uniform resource locator (URLs) associated with Web references. The decaying of Web references is analyzed in relation to their age, domain, technical errors and error codes.

Design/methodology/approach

The Web references of the Journal of Informetrics were selected for analysis and interpretation to fulfill the set objectives. The references of all the scholarly articles, excluding editorials and reviews published in the Journal of Informetrics for five years from 2007 to 2011 were recorded in a text file. Later, the URLs were extracted from the articles to verify their accessibility in terms of persistence and decay. The collected data were then transferred into an excel file and tabulated for further analysis and interpretation using simple statistical techniques.

Findings

The results showed that of the total 7,409 citations retrieved from 221 articles, 358 citations (4.8%) were Web citations. These Web citations were assessed to find their persistence and decay. The results reveal that 115 (32.12%) Web references were missing or dead. The most common error associated with the missing Web citations was Error 404 Page not found, contributing 60% of the total missing citations, followed by 400 Bad Request Error (35.65%). The domain analysis of missing Web citations depicts that most of the missing URLs were associated with the .gov domain (40%), followed by .edu (29.58%) and .com (26.04%).

Research limitations/implications

The Web references of a single journal, namely, Journal of Informetrics, were analyzed for five years, and hence, the generalization of findings needs to be cautioned.

Practical implications

The URL decay is becoming a major problem in the preservation and citation of the Web resources, and collaborative efforts are needed to reduce the decaying of URLs.

Originality/value

A good number of studies have been conducted to analyze the persistence and decay of Web references, as it is the hot topic of research across disciplines, and this study is a step further in the same direction.

Details

Digital Library Perspectives, vol. 36 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2059-5816

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 30 March 2012

M.K. Saberi and H. Abedi

The aim of this paper is to scrutinize the accessibility and decay of web references (URLs) cited in five open access social sciences journals indexed by ISI.

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to scrutinize the accessibility and decay of web references (URLs) cited in five open access social sciences journals indexed by ISI.

Design/methodology/approach

After acquiring all the papers published by these journals during 2002‐2007, their web citations were extracted and analyzed from an accessibility point of view. Moreover, for initially missed citations complementary pathways such as using Internet Explorer and the Google search engine were employed.

Findings

The study revealed that at first check 73 per cent of URLs are accessible, while 27 per cent have disappeared. It is notable that the rate of accessibility increased to 89 per cent and the rate of decay decreased to 11 per cent after using complementary pathways. The “.net” domain, with an availability of 96 per cent (a decay of 4 per cent) has the greatest stability and persistence among all domains, while the most stable file format is PDF, with an availability of 93 per cent (a decay of 7 per cent).

Originality/value

Given the inevitable, destructive and progressing decay phenomenon in web citations, after estimating the extent of this decay for five journals using innovative and standard methods, this paper suggests recommendations for preventing it. The paper carries research value for web content providers, publishers, editors, authors and researchers.

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Article
Publication date: 10 July 2017

Alfred Said Sife and Edda Tandi Lwoga

This study aims to examine the availability and persistence of universal resource locators (URLs) cited in scholarly articles published in selected health journals based…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to examine the availability and persistence of universal resource locators (URLs) cited in scholarly articles published in selected health journals based in East Africa.

Design/methodology/approach

Four health sciences online journals in East Africa were selected for this study. In this study, all Web citations in the selected journal articles covering the 2001-2015 period were extracted. This study explored the number of URLs used as citations, determined the rate of URLs’ loss, identified error messages associated with inaccessible URLs, identified the top domain levels of decayed URLs, calculated the half-life of the Web citations and determined the proportion of recovered URL citations through the Internet Wayback Machine.

Findings

In total, 822 articles were published between 2001 and 2015. There were in total 17,609 citations of which, only 574 (3.3 per cent) were Web citations. The findings show that 253 (44.1 per cent) Web citations were inaccessible and the “404 File Not Found” error message was the most (88.9 per cent) encountered. Top-level domains with country endings had the most (23.7 per cent) missing URLs. The average half-life for the URLs cited in journal articles was 10.5 years. Only 36 (6.3 per cent) Web references were recovered through the Wayback Machine.

Originality/value

This is a comprehensive study of East African health sciences online journals that provides findings that raises questions as to whether URLs should continue to be included as part of bibliographic details in the lists of references. It also calls for concerted efforts from various actors in overcoming the problem of URL decay.

Details

Information and Learning Science, vol. 118 no. 7/8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2398-5348

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 7 April 2015

B T Sampath Kumar, D Vinay Kumar and K.R. Prithviraj

The purpose of this paper is to know the rate of loss of online citations used as references in scholarly journals. It also indented to recover the vanished online…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to know the rate of loss of online citations used as references in scholarly journals. It also indented to recover the vanished online citations using Wayback Machine and also to calculate the half-life period of online citations.

Design/methodology/approach

The study selected three journals published by Emerald publication. All 389 articles published in these three scholarly journals were selected. A total of 15,211 citations were extracted of which 13,281 were print citations and only 1,930 were online citations. The online citations so extracted were then tested to determine whether they were active or missing on the Web. W3C Link Checker was used to check the existence of online citations. The online citations which got HTTP error message while testing for its accessibility were then entered in to the search box of the Wayback Machine to recover vanished online citations.

Findings

Study found that only 12.69 percent (1,930 out of 15,211) citations were online citations and the percentage of online citations varied from a low of 9.41 in the year 2011 to high of 17.52 in the year 2009. Another notable finding of the research was that 30.98 percent of online citations were not accessible (vanished) and remaining 69.02 percent of online citations were still accessible (active). The HTTP 404 error message – “page not found” was the overwhelming message encountered and represented 62.98 percent of all HTTP error message. It was found that the Wayback Machine had archived only 48.33 percent of the vanished web pages, leaving 51.67 percent still unavailable. The half-life of online citations was increased from 5.40 years to 11.73 years after recovering the vanished online citations.

Originality/value

This is a systematic and in-depth study on recovery of vanished online citations cited in journals articles spanning a period of five years. The findings of the study will be helpful to researchers, authors, publishers, and editorial staff to recover vanishing online citations using Wayback Machine.

Details

Program, vol. 49 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0033-0337

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 4 October 2011

Nosrat Riahinia, Fatemeh Zandian and Ali Azimi

By studying a large number of citations in the LIS field, this paper seeks to examine carefully the persistence status of web resources specified by their domains and type…

Abstract

Purpose

By studying a large number of citations in the LIS field, this paper seeks to examine carefully the persistence status of web resources specified by their domains and type of files.

Design/methodology/approach

All 2005‐2008 volumes of six LIS journals ranked by ISI Thomson Reuters were selected. From 1,181 papers, 37,791 citations were recorded. Only original articles, which had a list of references, were included in the study. The persistence of web citations was checked by directly following the cited URLs.

Findings

Of the 37,791 citations, 4,840 (12.8 percent) were web citations. The means per articles of web and print citations were 4.09, and 27.9, respectively. Of all web citations, 4,617 (95 percent) were readily persistent, and 5 percent returned errors and thus were not originally accessible. The relationship between the print and web citation over time (year) was significant. The most prevalent domain of citations was html and the most favorable and persistent file format was pdf.

Practical implications

The web resources are used for their easy accessibility and the support they provide for a scientific content. While direct accessibility to a web citation is not provided, many strategies are adopted to recover the dead citation. The issue is to what extent the authors rely on web resources and are they finished with citing paper‐based materials? Are web resources becoming replaced with their print counterparts? The study showed that scholars still rely more on print resources than on the web materials.

Originality/value

Tracking current trends in scholars' communication behavior shows a shift from print to web resources. The paper examines web citations persistence in some prestigious journals to show whether the web citations are reliable enough and always accessible in the digital world.

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Article
Publication date: 15 February 2011

Aragudige Nagaraja, Shine A. Joseph, Hyla H. Polen and Kevin A. Clauson

The aim of this paper is to assess and catalogue the magnitude of URL attrition in a high‐impact, open access (OA) general medical journal.

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to assess and catalogue the magnitude of URL attrition in a high‐impact, open access (OA) general medical journal.

Design/methodology/approach

All Public Library of Science Medicine (PLoS Medicine) articles for 2005‐2007 were evaluated and the following items were assessed: number of entries per issue; type of article; number of references per entry; number of references that contained URLs; and the access date listed for each URL citation. URLs were then evaluated for accessibility status (i.e. active or defunct).

Findings

In total, 1,133 articles were published from 2005‐2007 in PLoS Medicine. The 1,133 articles contained 28,177 references, with 2,503 (8.9 per cent) identified as URLs. Non‐research articles accounted for a substantially higher percentage of URL references (17.4 per cent) compared to research articles (4.2 per cent). Almost 17 per cent of the URL references were defunct and the rate of URL attrition increased as time elapsed.

Research limitations/implications

Information management policy makers need to re‐examine the importance of preserving the internet materials long term. Both publisher and author should expand efforts to preserve internet materials. Common guidelines should be developed (e.g. by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors) and implemented by all publishers to address URL use as references.

Originality/value

This article will be of interest to those in the field.

Details

Program, vol. 45 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0033-0337

Keywords

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