One in five online scholarly articles affected by 'reference rot'

While the immediacy of publishing information on the Internet dramatically speeds the dissemination of scholarly knowledge, the transition from a paper-based to a web-based scholarly communication system has introduced challenges that Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists are seeking to address.

"For more than 70 percent of papers that link to pages, revisiting the originally referenced web content proved impossible," said Herbert Van de Sompel, of the Los Alamos National Laboratory Research Library. "These results are alarming because vanishing references undermine the long-term integrity of the scholarly record."

In the article "Scholarly Context Not Found: One in Five Articles Suffers from Reference Rot," published Dec. 26 in the Public Library of Science ONE (PLOS ONE) journal, Los Alamos authors Martin Klein, Herbert Van de Sompel, Robert Sanderson, Harihar Shankar , and Lyudmila Balakireva, all of the Laboratory's Research Library, focus on reference rot, the combination of link rot and content drift to which references to web resources included in STM articles are subject.


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More information: Klein M, Van de Sompel H, Sanderson R, Shankar H, Balakireva L, et al. (2014) "Scholarly Context Not Found: One in Five Articles Suffers from Reference Rot." PLoS ONE 9(12): e115253. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0115253
Journal information: PLoS ONE

Citation: One in five online scholarly articles affected by 'reference rot' (2015, January 27) retrieved 23 January 2021 from https://phys.org/news/2015-01-online-scholarly-articles-affected.html
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