Reaching a milestone: the Scopus Cited Reference Expansion Programme

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Last summer, I talked about the University of Bolton’s involvement in the UK Scopus User Enhancement Group, and how it is very important to contribute in any way we can to the ongoing development of such an important academic resource.

It’s also an opportunity to find out what’s on the horizon, and one of the developments that was discussed at that meeting was the Scopus Cited Reference Expansion Programme and the roadmap for its progress. While accessing Scopus myself this afternoon, I spotted a progress report on this project which I thought I’d share. The Scopus Cited Reference Expansion Programme will, over the course of around 12 months, aims to add capture million of citations to pre-1996 articles back to 1970 and beyond. By the end of last year, over 5 million had already been added, and it’s hoped that this figure will almost double in 2016.

It seems incredible to think that citation information of anything published prior to 1996 isn’t available: after all, isn’t everything available at the touch of a button? You’d be forgiven for thinking that, but the world of information provision has changed dramatically in the past 20 years. This blog author was in the middle of her A-Levels then: almost every essay I handed in was handwritten; we didn’t use the internet at all in the course of our studies; there were no electronic resources available us. Moreover, we either had chalkboards in our classrooms or overhead projectors with acetate slides!  (one of these, for the uninitiated)

The concept of an electronic journal being the norm – or should I say, the expectation as I believe is absolutely justifiable – really didn’t come into play until relatively recently. It is still the case that content to electronic material before 1997 shouldn’t be regarded as expected, so projects like the Scopus Cited Reference Expansion Programme are an important way to ensure that intellectual output is ‘retrospectively’ converted to an electronic format.

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