Authors:Chuanfu Chen, Yuan Yu, Qiong Tang, Kuei Chiu, Yan Rao, Xuan Huang and Kai Sun
Authority generally relates to expertise, recognition of official status of a source, and the reputation of the author and publisher. As the Internet has become a ubiquitous tool in modern science and scholarly research, evaluating the authority of free online scholarly information is becoming crucial. However, few empirical studies have focused on this issue. Using a modified version of Jim Kapoun's “Five criteria for evaluating web pages” as framework, this research selected 32 keywords from eight disciplines, inputted them into three search engines (Google, Yahoo and AltaVista) and used Analytic Hierarchy Process to determine the weights. The first batches of results (web pages) from keyword searching were selected as evaluation samples (in the two search phases, the first 50 and 10 results were chosen, respectively), and a total of 3,134 samples were evaluated for authority based on the evaluation framework. The results show that the average authority value for free online scholarly information is about 3.63 (out of five), which is in the “fair” level (3 ≤ Z < 4) (Z is the value assigned to each sample). About 41% of all samples collected provide more authoritative scholarly information. Different domain names, resource types, and disciplines of free online scholarly information perform differently when scored in terms of authority. In conclusion, the authority of free online scholarly information has been unsatisfactory, and needs to be improved. Furthermore, the evaluation framework and its application developed herein could be a useful instrument for librarians, researchers, students, and the public to select Internet resources.
Authors:Chuanfu Chen, Kai Sun, Gang Wu, Qiong Tang, Jian Qin, Kuei Chiu, Yushuang Fu, Xiaofang Wang and Jing Liu
The quality and credibility of Internet resources has been a concern in scholarly communication. This paper reports a quantitative
analysis of the use of Internet resources in journal articles and addresses the concerns for the use of Internet resources
scholarly journals articles. We collected the references listed in 35,698 articles from 14 journals published during 1996
to 2005, which resulted in 1,000,724 citations. The citation data was divided into two groups: traditional citations and Web
citations, and examined based on frequencies of occurrences by domain and type of Web citation sources. The findings included:
(1) The number of Web citations in the journals investigated had been increasing steadily, though the quantity was too small
to draw an inclusive conclusion on the data about their impact on scientific research; (2) A great disparity existed among
different disciplines in terms of using information on the Web. Applied disciplines and interdisciplinary sciences tended
to cite more information on the Web, while classical and experimental disciplines cited little of Web information; (3) The
frequency of citations was related to the reputation of the author or the institution issuing the information, and not to
the domain or webpage types; and (4) The researchers seemed to lack confidence in Internet resources, and Web information
was not as frequently cited as reported in some publications before. The paper also discusses the need for developing a guideline
system to evaluate Web resources regarding their authority and quality that lies in the core of credibility of Web information.