[Annelida] Caution - Error propagation

Geoff Read via annelida%40net.bio.net (by g.read from niwa.co.nz)
Wed Jun 4 16:02:10 EST 2008

Hi Folks,

Maybe the productive writings of Ann Arbor are more familiar to our North American members.

A comment in this week's Nature notes that Professor Arbor has an h-index of 1 from the Web of Science database provided by Thomson Scientific's ISI Web of Knowledge. This is based on her five citations for the year 2007: two articles, two letters and one abstract.  (Nature 453, 719 (5 June 2008) | doi:10.1038/453719c)

In her other life Ann Arbor is a city in Michigan, and significantly a university town.

A previous note observed that:

"The career of the non-existent author Ann Arbor is well-known to connoisseurs of computerized databases and citation indexes. Usually listed as the last author, she is sometimes credited with the academic degree "MI". Ann is not actually a person, but the city of Ann Arbor, Michigan, home of the University of Michigan. Her 'degree' is a misinterpretation of the abbreviation for Michigan: MI. She pre-dates online computerized databases, and was often listed in the paper edition of Index Medicus.

"Ms Arbor now has a UK rival in the team of Walton Hall and Milton Keynes. Like her, they are usually listed as last authors. The online database Google Scholar lists them as co-authors of 46 publications, in addition to their solo work (see http://tinyurl.com/386wuo). Walton Hall is actually a building on the campus of the Open University in Milton Keynes. These 'authors' have a useful role to play: they can be used to check the accuracy of the databases and indexes.

(from: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/452282b  Nature 452, 282 (2008) | doi:10.1038/452282b.)

In an age when 'information' is increasingly harvested for us by brute-force computer bots, as well as still data-entered by the uncomprehending, it pays to check back with the original - also now easier because of digitisation - to avoid adding to the bubbling stew of misinformation out there.



 Geoff Read <g.read from niwa.co.nz>

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