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Re: Impact on publication of monographs (Heinrich C. Kuhn) Marcia Tuttle 11 Jul 1996 15:39 UTC

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 11 Jul 1996 16:44:10 GMT+2
From: Heinrich C. Kuhn <hck@IPP-GARCHING.MPG.DE>
Subject: Re: Impact on publication of monographs (Albert Henderson)

Dear Mr Henderson,

   Thanks for your kind reply via SERIALST! Though my answer to it is
(again) more about monographs than about serials I send it to SERIALIST as
well, as some of the points addressed (especially those concerning
different abstracting habits...) are probably relevant to questions about
serials as well.

> In "Growth and change of the world's chemical literature as reflected in
> Chemical Abstracts," (PUBLISHING RESEARCH QUARTERLY 10,4:38-46, 1994/95) Edward
> P. Donnell provides detailed statistics of paper, patents, and books covered.
> The numbers of papers and patents have risen constantly. The numbers of books
> rose until 1978 with 7804 titles abstracted; then it fell with the last year,
> 1993, showing 3261 titles. In a telephone interview, Donnell confirmed to me
> that there was no change in editorial policy that might have caused this
> phenomenon.

I promise that I'll try to have a look at that paper one of the next days
(especially to see whether there's any indication as to whether the
numbers reported might be due to a decrease in inclination to abstract
monographs on the side of the CAS).

I tried a similar search for "books" in INSPEC (Physics and the like). And
I was a bit surprised. So I made a similiar search for part of the years
in INSPHYS, a database, that contains the records that were part of PHYS
(the deceased competitor-database to INSPEC) and that have *no*
corresponding record in INSPEC. In the column "B INSPEC" you find the
books listed in INSPEC, in "B INSPHYS" the ones listed in INSPHYS and in
"B BOTH" the books listed in either of the two databases (no duplicates!).
The "YEAR" is the publication year, *not* the entry year. The picture you
get is the following:

YEAR    B INSPEC        B INSPHYS       B BOTH (1985-94)
1970    954
1971    1153
1972    929
1973    806
1974    907
1975    716
1976    988
1977    1082
1978    1348
1979    1336
1980    1341
1981    1255
1982    1086
1983    1342
1984    1312
1985    925     7369    8294
1986    998     7168    8166
1987    1234    8093    9327
1988    963     11073   12036
1989    973     10712   11685
1990    885     13135   14020
1991    807     12441   13248
1992    550     9078    9628
1993    553     4770    5323
1994    218     1936    2154
1995    143

Short interpretation: If you look at INSPEC only there is no serious
decrease apparent till 1991 (incl.) Then in INSPEC there is a *very*
significant decrease, especially from 1994 onwards. In INSPHYS the
decrease happenes *a whole year later*. This might very well reflect that
the decreasing numbers of monographs abstracted are at least to a
considerable part due to changed abstracting habits and policies instead
of a sharp decrease in publication itself. Besides: if you take the last
INSPEC-Numbers (1991-1995): a decrease by more than 80% in the publication
of monographs in a mere 5-years-period without any major war (which we
haven't heard about...) as a cause is - to say the least - *very* counter

Consequence: interesting as the numbers of documents of a certain type
abstracted in certain databases are indeed: it might be sensible to be
rather cautious when trying to infer from them informations about the
total number of publications in a certain field. A change in numbers of
documents abstracted is just this: a change in documents abstracted and
may very well not *only* (and in some cases not even for the most part!)
be dependent on changes in the amount of relative publications in a
certain field.

Hoping to read again about you and other persons' views on these subjects

Heinrich C. Kuhn
* Dr. Heinrich C. Kuhn      Max-Planck-Gesellschaft /GV IIb3
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