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Authors of the well-regarded Annual Reviews series incorporate URLs to in the text, figures, tables, and reference sections of their articles. Despite the lack of peer review, the number of pointers to scientific information on the World Wide Web in the biomedical and physical science reviews increased five fold between 1997 and 2001. However, only 34% and 76% of the URLs from 1997 and 2001, respectively, remain viable in 2003. This is disconcerting as the stability of the highly cited Annual Reviewsseries is integral to the flow of scientific information. In fact, the citation rate for the URL containing Annual Reviewsarticles was found to be less than half that observed for all the review articles analyzed. Taken together these data suggest that the viability of web information may influence the citation rate of authors who have previously basked in the halo of R. K. Merton's Matthew Effect.

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