, Volume 114, Issue 2, pp 605–631 | Cite as

Beyond Garfield’s Citation Index: an assessment of some issues in building a personal name Acknowledgments Index

  • Katherine W. McCain


To study patterns of personal acknowledgments in life sciences research and assess the feasibility of a formal Personal Acknowledgments Index, two successive 5-year (1995–1999, 2000–2004) sets of original research articles on zebrafish (Danio rerio) were scanned for acknowledgment statements thanking individuals for various “gifts” of research materials, services, and interpersonal communication. Text areas mined included “Materials and Methods” (M&M) and various text locations of “Acknowledgments” (ACK). Acknowledgment statements were coded using a detailed Personal Acknowledgments Classification. Including the M&M sections increased the number of unique personal names, primarily in classes 1a (experimental animals) and 1b (research materials)—with a few highly acknowledged researchers adding substantially to their tallies. The challenges of locating personal acknowledgment statements, harvesting and disambiguating personal names, determining the level of detail useful in characterizing the nature of the “gifts,” and assessing the level of interest in the potential user community are discussed.


Acknowledgments Personal Acknowledgments Index Zebrafish Peer interactive communication Subauthorship Paratext 


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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Information Science, College of Computing and InformaticsDrexel UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA

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