Eugene Garfield’s Ideas and Legacy and Their Impact on the Culture of Research

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Baykoucheva, S. Eugene Garfield’s Ideas and Legacy and Their Impact on the Culture of Research. Publications 2019, 7, 43


Eugene Garfield advanced the theory and practice of information science and envisioned information systems that made the discovery of scientific information much more efficient. The Institute for Scientific Information (ISI), which he founded in Philadelphia in 1960, developed innovative information products that have revolutionized science. ISI provided current scientific information to researchers all over the world by publishing the table of contents of key scientific journals in the journal Current Contents (CC). Garfield introduced the citation as a qualitative measure of academic impact and propelled the concepts of “citation indexing” and “citation linking”, paving the way for today’s search engines. He created the Science Citation Index (SCI), which raised awareness about citations; triggered the development of new disciplines (scientometrics, infometrics, webometrics); and became the foundation for building new important products such as Web of Science. The journal impact factor (IF), originally designed to select journals for the SCI, became the most widely accepted tool for measuring academic impact. Garfield actively promoted English as the international language of science and became a powerful force in the globalization of research. His ideas changed how researchers gather scientific information, communicate their findings, and advance their careers. This article looks at the impact of Garfield’s ideas and legacy on the culture of research.