Online journals' impact on the citation patterns of medical faculty
journal contributionposted on 15.12.2006, 00:00 by Sandra L. De Groote, Mary Shultz, Marceline Doranski
Purpose: The purpose was to determine the impact of online journals on the citation patterns of medical faculty. This study looked at whether researchers were more likely to limit the resources they consulted and cited to those journals available online rather than those only in print. Setting: Faculty publications from the college of medicine at a large urban university were examined for this study. The faculty publications from a regional medical college of the same university were also examined in the study. The number of online journals available for faculty, staff, and students at this institution has increased from an initial core of 15 online journals in 1998 to over 11,000 online journals in 2004. Methodology: Searches by author affiliation were performed in the Web of Science to find all articles written by faculty members in the college of medicine at the selected institution. Searches were conducted for the following years: 1993, 1996, 1999, and 2002. Cited references from each faculty-authored article were recorded, and the corresponding cited journals were coded into four categories based on their availability at the institution in this study: print only, print and online, online only, and not owned. Results were analyzed using SPSS. Results: The number of journals cited per year continued to increase from 1993 to 2002. The results did not indicate that researchers were more likely to cite online journals or were less likely to cite journals only in print. At the regional location where the number of print-only journals was minimal, use of the print-only journals did decrease in 2002, although not significantly. Conclusion/Discussion: It is possible that electronic access to information (i.e., online databases) has had a positive impact on the number of articles faculty will cite. Results of this study suggest, at this point, that faculty are still accessing the print-only collection, at least for research purposes, and are therefore not sacrificing quality for convenience.