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Last updated on July 1, 2013

Library staff publications

2012

2010

2009

2008

2006

  • Roelants G, Schoonbaert D, Demedts V. A century of ITM publications. In: Baetens R, editor. Een brug tussen twee werelden; het Prins Leopold Instituut voor Tropische Geneeskunde Antwerpen 100 jaar. Antwerpen: Instituut voor Tropische Geneeskunde, 2006: 352-368.

2004

2002

2001
  • Buys-Devillé S. Aanzet tot een methodologie voor het opsporen van literatuur over humane Afrikaanse trypanosomiasis (Dissertatie). Antwerpen: Stedelijk Centrum Volwassenonderwijs "Pestalozzi", Afdeling Bibliotheekwezen en Documentaire Informatiekunde, 2001: 67 pp.

  • Demedts V, Schoonbaert D, Roelants G. Organization of health care in developing countries; selected publications (1980-2001). Antwerpen: Prince Leopold Institute of Tropical Medicine, The Library, 2001: 168 pp.

  • Schoonbaert D. Personal bibliographic systems (PBS). In: Kent A, Williams JG, editors. Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science. Volume 70. Supplement 33. New York: Marcel Dekker, 2001: 326-362.
2000

1999

199819971996199519941992

  • Roelants G. The biomedical literature on Central Africa 1880-1991; preliminary observations. Annales de la Société Belge de Médecine Tropicale 1992; 72: 245-261.

  • Roelants G. Publications biomédicales sur l'Afrique centrale, 1880-1992; observations préliminaires. In: Janssens PG, Kivits M Vuylsteke J, editors. Médecine et hygiene en Afrique centrale de 1885 à nos jours. Bruxelles: Fondation Roi Baudouin, 1992: 205-214.

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ITG library home page Books Journals Electronic journals Databases WebSPIRS Internet links ITG home page


Schoonbaert D, Rosenberg V. Personal bibliographic systems (PBS). In: Understanding information retrieval systems: management, types and standards. Boca Raton: CRC Press, 2012: 545-558.

[PDF | Abstract]

Personal Bibliographic Systems (PBS) manage the input, storage, retrieval and output of bibliographic references, allowing for a number of different document types to accomodate for references to journal articles, books, book chapters, dissertations, reports, unpublished papers electronic documents, etc. Unlike general purpose database management programs, they are made to the measure of bibliographic information, featuring a.o. a variety of import profiles for records downloaded from the major international databases, and the automatic generation of dozens of different output styles, including those used by the world's leading scientific journals. Modern PBS have the additional advantage of increasing standardization, enhanced by the Windows(95) platform, and the integration of various modules from within the same paradigm or with external programs like wordprocessors. The provision of import, storage, retrieval and output of Internet-derived information is a recent asset. This paper focuses on the various options and characteristics which can make a PBS attractive for its potential users. Special attention is paid to structural flexibility, retrieval options, input, display and output formats, and interface- and management-related issues.

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Schoonbaert D, Demedts VV. An analysis of 60 years of Trypanosoma literature indexed in PubMed (1950-2009). Antwerpen: Institute of Tropical Medicine, The Library, 2012: 18 pp.

[PDF | Abstract]

Objectives and methods: To identify the Trypanosoma and trypanosomiasis related articles indexed in the PubMed database for the period 1950-2009 and to analyze them for distribution and evolution of a number of variables: publication years, languages, document types, journals, authors, major subjects and countries involved, and author and publisher addresses.
Results: 25,799 articles were selected. Over these six decades the number of Trypanosoma articles covered by PubMed steadily increased, and relative to the overall number of PubMed records the 1980s and 1990s scored best on Trypanosoma content. While in the 1950s English language articles still constituted less than 38% of this corpus, by the 2000s its dominance had risen to over 92%, with an overall 1950-2009 share of almost 82%. The scholarly input of the regions where the trypanosomiasis burden is the highest, such as Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa, is clearly visible in the distribution of journals, authors, but partially also in language, especially Portuguese (6.7%), Spanish (5.5%) and to a lesser extent French (4.4%). While of the Trypanosoma species represented by individual keywords (MeSH) the T.cruzi literature can be identified fairly adequately, this is far less the case for the three T.brucei species, which are indexed far less accurately. This implies that unlike Chagas disease it is virtually impossible to retrieve the full PubMed literature on human African trypanosomiasis which in MeSH searches often cannot be distinguished from animal trypanosomiases.
Conclusions: The scholarly input of a number of Latin American countries where the T.cruzi burden is the highest, such as Brazil and Argentina, is clearly visible in the distribution of journals, authors, and language, but this is certainly not the case for all countries afflicted. In Africa as well the contributions of high T.brucei burden countries is unbalanced, but their overall visibility is far lower. Many other species of Trypanosoma are encountered all over the tropics (including Asia) but are subject of far fewer papers.

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Schoonbaert D, Rosenberg V. Personal bibliographic systems (PBS). In: Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science; 3rd ed. London: Taylor & Francis, 2010: 2127-2136.

[PDF | Abstract]

Personal Bibliographic Systems (PBS) manage the input, storage, retrieval and output of bibliographic references, allowing for a number of different document types to accomodate for references to journal articles, books, book chapters, dissertations, reports, unpublished papers electronic documents, etc. Unlike general purpose database management programs, they are made to the measure of bibliographic information, featuring a.o. a variety of import profiles for records downloaded from the major international databases, and the automatic generation of dozens of different output styles, including those used by the world's leading scientific journals. Modern PBS have the additional advantage of increasing standardization, enhanced by the Windows(95) platform, and the integration of various modules from within the same paradigm or with external programs like wordprocessors. The provision of import, storage, retrieval and output of Internet-derived information is a recent asset. This paper focuses on the various options and characteristics which can make a PBS attractive for its potential users. Special attention is paid to structural flexibility, retrieval options, input, display and output formats, and interface- and management-related issues.

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Schoonbaert D., Eyers AE, Eyers JE. Sources of information in tropical medicine [online only]. In: Cook GC, Zumla AI (editors). Manson's tropical diseases; 22nd ed. [s.l.]: Saunders/Elsevier, 2009: 1783-1798. [available from Expert Consult]

[Preprint PDF | Abstract]

The literature of tropical medicine, like all clinical specialties, tends to be distributed throughout the medical literature, and reliance on the specialist tropical medicine literature alone will not usually be sufficient to cover adequately the total literature. It is important therefore that any search of the literature will need to encompass both the general and specialist sources. This brief guide to the information sources of tropical medicine will limit itself to the main focus of this book, i.e. clinical, diagnostic and control aspects of tropical medicine. Any systematic search of the literature must use a variety of different sources including journals, books, databases and various websites. Many traditional print resources such as journals, indexes and increasingly also books are now available online and those listed below include only a selection of the most important sources. However, an important part of this survey is on identifying the most important Internet-based resources, as a reflection that the Internet has become, de facto, the main vehicle for up-to-date information in medicine, even in the poorest regions of the world. Inevitably some web sites become unavailable, change URL or are not updated; it is hoped that the online version of this chapter, to be published in parallel with the print version, will continue to be updated. However, there are two regularly updated gateway sites which cover much of the source material listed: the Institute of Tropical Medicine Antwerp Library Links to Selected Web Sites and the AED Satellife's Essential Health Links.

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Schoonbaert D. Pubmed growth patterns and visibility of journals of SubSaharan African origin [letter]. Journal of the Medical Library Association 2009; 97: 241-243.

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Schoonbaert D, Demedts V. Analysis of the leprosy literature indexed in Medline (1950-2007). Leprosy Review 2008; 79: 387-400.

[PDF | Abstract]

Some 19,201 leprosy-related articles were identified in the Medline database for the period 1950-2007. These were analysed for distribution and evolution of a number of variables: publication years, languages, document types, journals, authors, major aspects and countries involved, and author addresses. Next to a number of tables presenting the actual results, some noteworthy trends and possible pitfalls in the interpretation of these results are discussed. The analysis shows that the number of leprosy-related articles peaked in the 1980s and has been in decline ever since, as well in absolute as in relative numbers. Coverage of non-English language literature has decreased far more strongly than that of English language articles. The scholarly input of a number of countries where the leprosy burden is the highest, such as India and Brazil, is clearly visible in the distribution of journals, authors, and for some, language, but this is certainly not the case for all countries afflicted.

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Demedts V. Organization of health care in developing countries; selected publications (2000-2008). Antwerpen: Institute of Tropical Medicine, The Library, 2008: 208 pp.

[PDF | Preface [2008 edition]]

Never before 'information' has been produced and made publicly available at a scale comparable to what we experience today. Internet search engines and indexes mine billions of webpages, a sub­stan­tial part of which dealing with health care in one way or another. A multitude of websites offer a hierarchically structured choice of resources, or speci­alise in particular health topics. Se­ve­ral of the more traditi­onal bibliographic databases such as Med­line/PubMed, analysing the peer-reviewed litera­ture with controlled vocabu­laries, have been freely avai­lable on the Internet for over a decade now. Still, it may not be easy to identify published reports of quality studies in international health, espe­cially when infor­mation on specific research topics or indi­vidual countries is required.

The following literature lists consist of a selec­tion of items from the ITM library niche database Health Care in Developing Countries (http://lib.itg.be/bs.htm). References are arranged in logically ordered chapters featuring subdivisions, often on several levels. Within each section the references are presented in reverse chrono­logical order. Only literature published from 2000 onwards is included. It is a partial upgrade of the 2004 list, which goes back to 1990, and is still freely available from http://lib.itg.be/health04.pdf. The first (2001) edition is available from http://lib.itg.be/healthdc.pdf. Originally these reference lists were meant for the use of our local patrons and only covered literature that was locally available or freely accessible on the Internet. As such we have no ambition whatsoever to analyse the whole field of international health. As this selection is closely linked to our physical collection, ITM library book codes have been added for the benefit of our local users. URL's for items that are freely available on the World Wide Web are also included. We have chosen not to include URL's for the mainstream literature (i.e. journal articles), as actual accessibility generally depends on library sub­scriptions, and is best resolved in this context. Links to the main journal webpages can be found at: http://lib.itg.be/journals.htm.

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Roelants G, Schoonbaert D, Demedts V. A century of ITM publications. In: Baetens R, editor. Een brug tussen twee werelden; het Prins Leopold Instituut voor Tropische Geneeskunde Antwerpen 100 jaar. [Antwerpen]: [s.n.], 2006: 352-368.

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Schoonbaert D. Citation patterns in tropical medicine journals. Tropical Medicine and International Health 2004; 9: 1142-1150.

[PDF] | Abstract

Selections of most important journals in the field of tropical medicine have previously been identified with the help of resources such as bibliographical and citation databases. This article uses ISI's Journal Citation Reports for 2002 to analyse the citation characteristics of the Tropical Medicine category. According to these data, this small but diverse group of 12 journals bestows some 40% more citations than it receives. Its 6 typical core journals tend to cite one another heavily, but they also refer a lot to multidisciplinary science and general medicine journals, and to infectious diseases and parasitology journals. Looking at the sources from which JCR's tropical medicine journals derive their citations, it is clear that in this reverse direction, the specialty's literature is still more concentrated. Apart from the typical core, this JCR category also contains a number of journals with more idiosyncratic citing patterns, focused on specialties like paediatrics, a single disease (leprosy) and a representative of Latin American and Francophone biomedical science each. Implications of concentrated citedness and language biases are shortly discussed. This paper features a selection of bibliometric parameters relating to the tropical medicine journals and lists of the 80 journals most citing and cited by them.

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Demedts V, Schoonbaert D. Organization of health care in developing countries; selected publications (1990-2004). Antwerpen: Prince Leopold Institute of Tropical Medicine, The Library, 2004: 151 pp.

[PDF] | Preface [2004 edition]

The present edition of this selective bibliography is a partial upgrade of the 2001 list, not a cumulative replacement. Evidently, many references from the last 3 years have been added, but the pre-1990 literature is no longer represented (even early 1990's references are scarce). Also, because of the inherent evolution of research and education trends, some of the earlier topics have not been retained, while new ones were added. Therefore, the previous edition, still freely available from http://lib.itg.be/healthdc.pdf remains a useful selection in its own right. For the electronic version of the present edition, please go to http://lib.itg.be/health04.pdf.

This new edition is based on the same general principles as explained in the 2001 introduction, i.e. relevant international health literature that is locally available for a specific audience. As far as the presentation is concerned, short alphabetically ordered topics were replaced by logically ordered chapters featuring subdivisions, often on several levels. Within each section the references are now arranged in reverse chronological order, so the most recent literature is always listed first. We have retained our library codes for easy local usage of the lists, and also have included URL's for more or less 'grey' documents and reports that are freely available on the World Wide Web. We have limited these URL's to the server or (sub)directory level, as in our experience these tend to be more persistent than document-specific URL's. We have chosen not to include URL's for the mainstream literature (i.e. journal articles), as actual accessibility generally depends on library subscriptions, and is best resolved in this context.

The increasing dominance of English language publications is striking. In our Health Care in Developing Countries database, the post-1989 publications on which this selection is based constitute 80%; of these, 83.3% are in English. Yet where available, we have also included the French literature.

Finally, the current editors acknowledge their debt to former ITM librarian Gilbert Roelants, who initiated both the Health Care in Developing Countries database and this anthology series, and selected the literature up until 1999.

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Schoonbaert D, Ylquimiche L. L'accès électronique aux revues scientifiques dans les pays en développement. Bulletin des Anciens MCM 2002; 5: 4-6.

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Schoonbaert D, Ylquimiche L. Electronic access to scientific journals in developing countries. MDC Alumni Newsletter 2002; 5: 3-4.

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Demedts V, Schoonbaert D, Roelants G. Organization of health care in developing countries; selected publications (1980-2001). Antwerpen: Prince Leopold Institute of Tropical Medicine, The Library, 2001: 168 pp.

[PDF] | Introduction [2001 edition]

Never before 'information' has been produced and made publicly available at a scale comparable to what we experience today. WWW indexes mine hundreds of millions of webpages, a substantial part of which dealing with health care in one way or another. A multitude of websites offer a hierarchically structured choice of resources, or specialise in particular health topics. Several of the more traditional bibliographic databases such as Medline, analysing the peer-reviewed literature with controlled vocabularies, have been freely available on the Internet for years.

Still, it may not be easy to identify published reports of quality studies in international health, especially when information on specific research topics or individual countries is required. The major bibliographic databases generally focus on the Western European and North American situation, and far less on that of developing countries. Their inherent selectivity of core sources will generally exclude both local journals and all non-journal article formats such as books, book chapters, and all kinds of reports and documents (e.g. by the World Health Organization) often referred to as grey literature. The enormous extent and impact of the biomedical literature published by international quality journals justifies these limitations. But it is unfortunate for the field of international health, as there such alternative publication types tend to have a greater relative importance than for other, more clinically or experimentally oriented biomedical discipines.

While finding adequate bibliographic references is one thing, getting hold of the actual full-text items is often even more problematic, especially when they are not published in the core journal literature. Books are more difficult to locate than journals; actually finding the grey literature is often a hopeless enterprise.

Participants of ITM's International Course of Health Development (ICHD) organized by our Public Health Department (and now well into its fourth decade) are invariably confronted with this problem. In order to assist them in gathering adequate research literature, we built our own niche database named Health Care in Developing Countries [http://lib.itg.be/bs.htm]. From its start in the late 1980's this endeavour has been based on two simple rules: only quality publications that are immediately relevant for research topics central to the ICHD course are selected, and the full-text item must be available in the ITM library. As such we have no ambition whatsoever to analyse the whole field of international health. Specialists may perhaps rightly protest that certain key publications are not to be found in this database. But while this somewhat idiosyncratic selection is intended as an immediate utility for a specific group of master students, we hope it may also prove valuable for others in the international health sector.

The following literature lists consist of a still more rigid selection of items from the database, arranged by a number of specific research topics. Only literature published from 1980 onwards is included. Within each section the references are presented in alphabetical order by author. Where multiple language versions exist (mostly French/English), both have been included. As this selection is so closely linked to our physical collection, ITM library book codes have been added for the benefit of our local users.

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Schoonbaert D. Personal bibliographic systems (PBS). In: Kent A, Williams JG, editors. Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science. Volume 70. Supplement 33. New York: Marcel Dekker, 2001: 326-362.

[PDF] | Abstract

Personal Bibliographic Systems (PBS) manage the input, storage, retrieval and output of bibliographic references, allowing for a number of different document types to accomodate for references to journal articles, books, book chapters, dissertations, reports, unpublished papers electronic documents, etc. Unlike general purpose database management programs, they are made to the measure of bibliographic information, featuring a.o. a variety of import profiles for records downloaded from the major international databases, and the automatic generation of dozens of different output styles, including those used by the world's leading scientific journals. Modern PBS have the additional advantage of increasing standardization, enhanced by the Windows(95) platform, and the integration of various modules from within the same paradigm or with external programs like wordprocessors. The provision of import, storage, retrieval and output of Internet-derived information is a recent asset. This paper focuses on the various options and characteristics which can make a PBS attractive for its potential users. Special attention is paid to structural flexibility, retrieval options, input, display and output formats, and interface- and management-related issues. A survey of individual PBS features is included as an appendix.

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Schoonbaert D. Tropical medicine, the Internet and current trends in biomedical communication. Annals of Tropical Medicine & Parasitology 2000; 94: 661-674.

[PDF] | Abstract

Largely unknown only a decade ago, the Internet has now become totally indispensable to biomedical practice and research as a means of information dissemination and retrieval. Electronic mail, list servers and newsgroups make personal, targeted and broadcasted communication around the globe possible. Hundreds of millions of World Wide Web pages, organised by hierarchically structured web directories and dissected by general web indexes, give access to an unprecedented amount of information. More and more scientists find their way to factual and bibliographical databases using the Internet. In addition to some of the more relevant resources for the tropical medicine and international health community, this paper pays special attention to recent and upcoming changes in formal biomedical information transfer. An interesting issue is the future role and position of the published article - either in electronic editions of traditional peer reviewed journals, or in even more revolutionary formats, such as electronic preprint servers - and the implications for authors, reviewers, editors, publishers, and ultimately the readers.

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Schoonbaert D. Personal bibliographic systems (PBS). In: Kent A, Williams JG, editors. Encyclopedia of Microcomputers. Volume 24. Supplement 3. New York: Marcel Dekker, 2000: 275-308.

Abstract

Personal Bibliographic Systems (PBS) manage the input, storage, retrieval and output of bibliographic references, allowing for a number of different document types to accomodate for references to journal articles, books, book chapters, dissertations, reports, unpublished papers electronic documents, etc. Unlike general purpose database management programs, they are made to the measure of bibliographic information, featuring a.o. a variety of import profiles for records downloaded from the major international databases, and the automatic generation of dozens of different output styles, including those used by the world's leading scientific journals. Modern PBS have the additional advantage of increasing standardization, enhanced by the Windows(95) platform, and the integration of various modules from within the same paradigm or with external programs like wordprocessors. The provision of import, storage, retrieval and output of Internet-derived information is a recent asset. This paper focuses on the various options and characteristics which can make a PBS attractive for its potential users. Special attention is paid to structural flexibility, retrieval options, input, display and output formats, and interface- and management-related issues. A survey of individual PBS features is included as an appendix.

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Roelants G. Journal impact factors: important, useful or objectionable? INFI Newsletter 1999; (Dec): 22-25.

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Roelants G. Les facteurs d'impact des revues: importants, utiles, criticables? Lettre du RIAC 1999; (Déc): 22-25.

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Schoonbaert D. De integratie van zelf samengestelde databases in SilverPlatters Electronic Reference Library (ERL) - ook kleinschalig een succes. Bibliotheek- en Archiefgids 1999; 75: 195-206.

[PDF] | Abstract

Like a steadily increasing number of scientific libraries, the Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITM) has chosen SilverPlatter's Electronic Reference Library (ERL) technology to offer its bibliographic databases to a broad audience. The major advantages of ERL are well known: medium-independence, structural similarity of databases, multi-platform, multi-user, multilingual interfaces, sophisticated access control surveillance, and the like. Next to a number of large international databases, the ITM library ERL server now also features a dozen smaller databases developed in-house. This article discusses some practical implications of the conversion of such proprietary databases and their integration within an otherwise standard ERL configuration.

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Schoonbaert D, Van der Stuyft P, Roelants G. Has TM & IH entered the top 3 of the tropical medicine journals? Reflections on the journal's unexpected first Impact Factor. Tropical Medicine and International Health 1998; 3: 935.

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Schoonbaert D. ExtraMed. In: Kent A, Hall CM, editors. Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science. Volume 63. Supplement 26. New York: Marcel Dekker, 1998: 82-98.

[PDF] | Abstract

ExtraMED is an electronic full-text library distributed on CD-ROM, incorporating some 250 biomedical and health-related journals. Unlike e.g. Adonis, ExtraMED does not specialize in high-impact journals, but focuses on local or regional biomedical journals from developing countries, most of which are not indexed by the major indexing services. Apart from general clinical practice, this constitutes a valuable source of additional published information for specialties such as tropical or traditional medicine. The practical advantages of this type of electronic document delivery are obvious: a vast number of references can easily be retrieved (bibliographic database) and the articles themselves, which in their printed form are generally not easy to come by, are immediately available (full-text images). Because of the CD-ROM format, the information is far less bulky than the paper versions and the management overhead is minimal, compared to subscribing to each individual journal separately (and claiming missing issues). ExtraMED is produced by the London based company Informania Ltd. It initially started as a project of the World Health Organization (WHO), which for many years has been active producing regional supplements to MEDLINE. ExtraMED is also supported by other international bodies such as UNICEF. The current annual subscription fee is œ1,200/$1,800, for which, in principle, one receives 10 monthly CD-ROMs (originally, 12 disks per year were announced). Backfiles cost œ600/$900, and for developing countries all prices are reduced by 50%. As each disk is scheduled to contain about 8,000 pages, ExtraMED would provide an estimated 100,000 pages a year. Comparable series, called 'ExtraSCI' and 'AgROM Extra', in cooperation with UNESCO, FAO and CAB International are being prepared. This article is based on an earlier discussion of ExtraMED but incorporates more recent information.

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Schoonbaert D. Biomedical journals and the World Wide Web. Electronic Library 1998; 16: 95-104

[PDF] | Abstract

Now that the World Wide Web has changed previously arcane electronic publishing into a popular everyday phenomenon, fullfilling the exciting promises of many years, a global electronic resource for the health sciences becomes technically feasible. Though recent evolutions have inspired prophesies on the imminent death of printed biomedical journals, the latter have now themselves joined the electronic platform. Since 1995, a respectable portion of the traditional top journals have started offering new channels of access not differing essentially from their paper formats. These electronic versions feature attractive additional value such as extra (multimedia) contents and improved retrieval and (hyper)linking capabilities. While originally many were partial versions mainly figuring as eye-catchers, increasingly more full-text editions appear on the WWW. Compared to exclusively electronic journals or reprint archives, traditional journals migrating to the Internet have certain strategic advantages such as an aura of intellectual trustworthiness (based on peer review) and considerable social acclaim (based on a.o. citation records). As such, their impact is now increasingly being extended into cyberspace and the rumours of the death of the biomedical journal appear to be greatly exagerated - or at least premature.

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Schoonbaert D, Roelants G. Impact takes precedence over interest [letter]. Nature 1998; 391: 222.

[PDF] | HTML

Sir - Johannes Stegmann(1) presents an apparently simple method to calculate (not "evaluate") Journal Impact Factors (JIFs) for journals not receiving an official JIF through ISI's Journal Citation Reports (JCR). Unfortunately there are a number of technical limitations to its applicability.

ISI's citation indexes include references to all kinds of bibliographical materials (also books and low profile journals). An essential condition, however, is that these are cited by a controlled set of source journals. This implies that self- citations of non-source journals will not be included in the citation indexes. Though there is a lot of variation between individual journals, generally a substantial part of citations received are self-citations. In many cases the journals are their own single biggest source of citations. While for top ranking journals receiving tens of thousands of citations the percentage of self-citations generally remains low, for a large part of the other journals a self-citation rate between 10% and 25% appears to be typical, especially when relating to the more recent years on which JIF calculations are based. So the total number of citations for constructing JIFs would be underrated to some degree. E.g. deleting self-citations from the totals of the 6 source journal examples given by Stegmann would decrease their impact factor for 1996 by a minimal 1.7% (Molecular Medicine, which starting in 1994 can be considered a special case) to a more substantial 12.9% (International Journal of Developmental Biology). More impressive examples are easily found (e.g. Molecular and Biochemical Parasitology: 21.3% or International Journal of Leprosy: 30%).

Calculating the number of source items per journal may also be more difficult than Stegmann suggests. If the exact number of source articles of a specific journal is included in the SciSearch database, then it probably already is an ISI source journal featuring a JIF. Databases like Medline do not necessarily cover all their source journals completely (especially if their contents are multidisciplinary as e.g. with Nature). And, as acknowledged by Stegmann, the criteria for counting source articles may vary in different databases. Besides, lots of journals are not represented at all in the major databases. So having physical access to these journals would often be a requisite.

Assuming that JIFs are appropriate value indicators for scient- ific publications(2), one may argue that an approximate JIF is preferable to nothing, even if both numerator and denominator are inacurate. Apart from this issue, one should bear in mind that the somewhat inaptly named JIF indicates the average value of individual research articles judged by the journal they are published in, rather than the total impact of this journal. It would seem obvious that when two journals have an identical JIF, if one annually publishes 2,000 papers and the other a mere 20, their overall impact on the scientific community cannot seriously be considered equal.

On the other hand, an important drawback of the unreserved attention being given to citation counts nowadays lies in the enormous gap between popular research areas (with many thousands of authors, papers, and citations) and less popular research areas (with far less authors, papers, and citations). For improving their status (and funding) the danger seems real that scientists would be tempted to neglect or abandon altogether the less popular research topics at the advantage of more rewarding ones. This might lead to an impoverishment of scientific knowledge in lots of virtually interesting domains.

References

  1. Stegmann G. How to evaluate journal impact factors. Nature, 390, 550 (1997).
  2. Schoonbaert D, Roelants G. Citation analysis for measuring the value of scientific publications: quality assessment tool or comedy of errors? Tropical Medicine and International Health, 1, 739-752 (1996).

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Schoonbaert D. Automatic mapping of free-text to thesaurus: good policy? [letter] Bulletin of the Medical Library Association 1997; 85: 439-440.

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Schoonbaert D. Personal bibliographic systems (PBS) for the PC: a generic survey of features. Electronic Library 1997; 15: 31-46.

[PDF] | Abstract

Personal bibliographic systems (PBS) manage the input, storage, retrieval and output of bibliographic references, allowing for a number of different document types to accomodate for journal articles, books, book chapters, dissertations, reports, unpublished documents, etc. Unlike general purpose database management packages, they are made to the measure of bibliographic information, featuring a.o. a variety of import profiles for records downloaded from the major commercial databases, and automatic generation of dozens of different output styles, including those used by the most popular journals. This article concentrates on low-cost mainstream bibliographic software for personal use or smaller libraries. Full-scale integrated library automation systems and Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC) software, which specialize in finding a specific title within a vast amount of book-type references, are not discussed. This article does not review or compare individual products, but focuses on the various characteristics which, when available, make a PBS attractive. Special attention is paid to structural flexibility, retrieval options, input, display and output formats, and interface- and management-related issues. A product-independent table of desirable features is included as an appendix.

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Schoonbaert D, Roelants G. Citation analysis for measuring the value of scientific publications: quality assessment tool or comedy of errors? Tropical Medicine and International Health 1996; 1: 739-752.

[PDF] | Abstract

The basic concepts of citation analysis and journal impact factors are discussed in the light of quality assessment of scientific publications, individual scientists and research units. The major controversies concerning this topic are addressed: technical limitations, database selectivity, time- and discipline-related biases, language and publication type biases, multiple authorship merits and citing motivations. Both positive and negative aspects are put into perspective. The authors conclude that citation analysis, even when based on journal impact factors, can be a worthwhile criterion for evaluating publication records of individual scientists or research units, as long as some of the problems discussed are sufficiently taken into account. However, this conclusion in no way implies that citation analysis may be considered as the only evaluation criterion.

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Schoonbaert D. SPIRS, WinSPIRS, and OVID: a comparison of three MEDLINE on CD-ROM interfaces. Bulletin of the Medical Library Association 1996; 84: 63-70.

[PDF] | Abstract

Three Medline on CD-ROM interfaces are compared: SPIRS (version 3.11) and WinSPIRS (version 1.0) from SilverPlatter and OVID (version 3.0, DOS and Windows interfaces) from CD Plus Technologies. Though they present the same database, there are substantial differences in the way these data are presented and can be searched. These different approaches are discussed and a detailed comparative table is included. It is obvious that all three are quite good at their job, yet none of them has all the aces: all have highly admirable and less fortunate features. Together, they show that an enormous potential of possibilities can be offered. It would therefore be nice if most of the better features (e.g.: easy menu vs. expert command mode, free text vs. field specific retrieval, pre-exploded thesaurus terms, etc.) were implemented in future versions and even more room were left for systems operators to determine the system defaults appropriate to their specific situation and customers.

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Schoonbaert D. Experiences with ExtraMED, an electronic full-text biomedical journal collection on CDROM. Electronic Library 1996; 14: 251-256.

[PDF] | Abstract

ExtraMED is an electronic full-text library distributed on CD-ROM, incorporating over 200 biomedical and health-related journals. Unlike e.g. Adonis, ExtraMED does not specialize in high-impact journals, but focuses on local or regional biomedical journals from developing countries, most of which are not indexed by the major indexing services. Especially for specialties such as tropical or traditional medicine, this constitutes a valuable source of additional information. Also as a bibliographic database ExtraMED is a worthwhile supplement to MEDLINE, but obviously not an equivalent alternative. The annual subscription fee is £2,000 and includes 12 monthly CD-ROMs. Each disk contains about 8,000 pages, so ExtraMED provides an estimated 100,000 pages a year. The practical advantages of this type of electronic document delivery, as well as the actual coverage and relevance are discussed. Though ExtraMED is certainly a laudable initiative, there are ample indications that the producers underestimated the problems of its practical realization. The project suffers considerable delay, and as only 6 CD-ROMs were published in over 20 months, the contents still present a somewhat chaotic picture with lots of gaps. Fortunately things are gradually getting better. The retrieval software is generally adequate and includes a few remarkable features such as powerful truncation, proximity searching, and automatic synonym look up. Display and printing capabilities are good, though somewhat cumbersome in the latter case.

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Roelants G. Which health journals are most useful? World Health Forum 1995; 16: 69-73.

Roelants G. Quelles sont les revues médico-sanitaires les plus utiles? Forum Mondial de la Santé 1995; 16: 73-77.

Roelants G. Qué revistas de medicina son màs utiles? Foro Mundial de la Salud 1995; 16: 77-81.

[PDF] | Abstract

Records are kept in a database of the sources cited in publications currently being received at the library of the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp in the subject areas of health services and endemic diseases in developing countries. The frequency of citations shows which journals are most useful on these two subjects. Although such an analysis necessarily reflects the needs of the institution carrying it out, it helps to form a more complete idea of what is available.

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Schoonbaert D. BiB/SEARCH 2.9; ervaringen met een veelzijdig bibliografisch databaseprogramma in een wetenschappelijke bibliotheek. Bibliotheek- & Archiefgids 1994; 70: 230-243.

[PDF] | Abstract

BiB/SEARCH (version 2.9) is a versatile bibliographic database management system, that distinguishes itself by its highly flexible data structure, powerful retrieval and quasi unlimited conversion and (bibliographic) formatting capabilities. Though this DBMS is primarily suited for the exigent individual user, it is also being used (sometimes as OPAC) by libraries or documentation centres. The major advantages and disadvantages of this DBMS are discussed, based on four years of experience in a scientific library. Attention is also paid to the further evolution of BiB/SEARCH (e.g. the new 3.0 version).

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Roelants G. The biomedical literature on Central Africa 1880-1991; preliminary observations. Annales de la Société Belge de Médecine Tropicale 1992; 72: 245-261.

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