Uncovering the World’s Unseen Science
Global comparisons of scientific output are commonplace. As non-experts, policymakers and administrators must rely on indexes of impact and recognition — counts of published papers and citations, and the prestige of source journals — to assess the impact of public spending and to allocate research funds.
The gold standard is the Scientific Citation Index Expanded, owned by Thomson Reuters. SCIE is an excellent abstracting service, but it covers only a small percentage of all scientific literature. And although the information revolution is making it easier to publish online, and therefore to access the results of scientific research, it also confounds efforts to monitor and compare the outputs as materials proliferate in many new venues. The result is a rapidly growing, open system that is harder to evaluate than ever before.