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Summing up my career
Eugene Garfield Scientist
Views Duration
81. What scientists want 86 04:42
82. Summing up my career 138 03:42
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People who have tried to give me credit for things that I really... I was never really all that much of a theoretician, although I would have liked to have done more, discovered more, if I can put it that way, laws. And some people, when you talk about Garfield’s Law, or Law of Concentration, that was the, versus Bradford’s Law of Scattering. People like Steve Bensman understand that, the difference, but not too many other people, I think, ever think about that. And then the thing about Garfield’s constant is not a constant.

[Q] It’s a ratio, okay?

But the... it was kind of a useful way of expressing certain ideas, you know. And I, have you looked at that recently? About, it’s still going up, I think. I think it’s a function, the size of the literature; it’s going keep on going up. How often, and what the average number of citations per year, to what... the average cited item is cited, what, two and a half, three times a year? Something like that.

[Q] Two point something. Or maybe it’s three now.

It’s going up, yeah. And so, what else? Do we have any Small's laws? We’ve got... so, what can I say? I think that, I like to think that it’s been useful. And that it will carry on. I think that information, science is an interesting career– information engineering and so on. So are other things... what else can you say? You like to think that you spend your life doing things that help improve the condition of man, you know. There was a... VI Lenin was a one who had this, there was a quotation that used to be used all the time that, you know, when people said, what did you do... 'As long as I live my life so I can say that it helped in the liberation of mankind'. How do you interpret the, the liberation of mankind? It depends on where you are, and how tied up you are. If I was living in Tsarist Russia, I would understand what the liberation of mankind meant. Here, I don’t know what we’re going to be liberated from, but... so, I think that, the challenges will remain and we’ll... will always be, I hope there will, it will always be an interesting and useful question that people will keep on answering. There will never be an end to the number of new questions that can be asked. So the unanswered questions of science. We used to call that TUQOS – remember that? That was the, another one of the projects that we never finished. We were going to do a project which would formulate the TUQOS, the unanswered questions of science, and keep on putting out, like a Guinness’s Book of unanswered questions of science.

Eugene Garfield (1925-2017) was an American scientist and publisher. In 1960 Garfield set up the Institute for Scientific Information which produced, among many other things, the Science Citation Index and fulfilled his dream of a multidisciplinary citation index. The impact of this is incalculable: without Garfield’s pioneering work, the field of scientometrics would have a very different landscape, and the study of scholarly communication would be considerably poorer.

Listeners: Henry Small

Henry Small is currently serving part-time as a research scientist at Thomson Reuters. He was formerly the director of research services and chief scientist. He received a joint PhD in chemistry and the history of science from the University of Wisconsin. He began his career as a historian of science at the American Institute of Physics' Center for History and Philosophy of Physics where he served as interim director until joining ISI (now Thomson Reuters) in 1972. He has published over 100 papers and book chapters on topics in citation analysis and the mapping of science. Dr Small is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, an Honorary Fellow of the National Federation of Abstracting and Information Services, and past president of the International Society for Scientometrics and Infometrics. His current research interests include the use of co-citation contexts to understand the nature of inter-disciplinary versus intra-disciplinary science as revealed by science mapping.

Duration: 3 minutes, 42 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2007

Date story went live: 23 June 2009