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Eugene Garfield

Scientist / Publisher

Born: 16 September 1925
Birthplace: New York, New York
Best known as: Founder of the Institute for Scientific Information
Dr. Eugene Garfield is the founder of the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) and a pioneer in the field of citation analysis. Garfield studied at the University of Colorado and Berkeley before getting a degree in chemistry from Columbia University in 1948. During the early 1950s he worked on the Welch Library indexing project at the John Hopkins University School of Medicine, sorting and indexing documents from medical papers and journals. With a graduate degree in library sciences from Columbia University, Garfield went into business as a "documentation consultant" while working on his doctorate in structural linguistics. He founded the ISI in 1960 and developed an indexing system for science literature, based on the analysis of citations used within a given work. Works earn an "impact factor," a measure of citations to other science journals that serves as an indicator of their importance in the field. The more citations in reputable journals, the higher the impact factor. The ISI sold subscriptions to their publication the Science Citation Index, and over time grew to include the Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI) and the Arts & Humanities Citation Index (A&HCI). These databases now form the foundation of the online research tool called the Web of Knowledge. Garfield also served as an adjunct professor of computer and information science at University of Pennsylvania during his career, and in 1986 launched The Scientist, a magazine for science researchers. His Essays of an Information Scientist (1977) collects columns published as Current Comments between 1962 and 1976, and is considered a classic in the field of information science. The ISI was acquired by Thomson Scientific in 1992.
Extra credit: Another expert in citation analysis is Dr. Francis Narin.

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More on Eugene Garfield from Infoplease:

  • Eugene Garfield - Biography of Eugene Garfield, Founder of the Institute for Scientific Information
  • Francis Narin - Biography of Francis Narin, Scientometrics pioneer who started CHI Research
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