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Eugene Garfield, information scientist: 1925-2017

on Tue, 02/28/2017 - 14:09

Eugene Garfield, information scientist: 1925-2017

It is with sadness that we learned this week of the passing of Eugene Garfield, widely regarded as the father of citation indexing and of the modern field of scientometrics, the quantitative study of the scientific literature. Throughout a long and active career spanning seven decades, Garfield made significant contributions to the understanding of the growth dynamics and internal organisation of the research enterprise, building largely on data from the Science Citation Index and subsequent variants created by his company, the Institute for Scientific Information.

Through his regular columns in Current Contents and The Scientist, Garfield helped popularize a number of terms now familiar to many in scholarly research and publishing, including ‘citation classic’, ‘research front’, and ‘publish or perish.' A number of Garfield’s own contributions to the peer-reviewed literature went on to become citation classics in their own right, including his landmark 1955 Science paper “Citation indexes for science” in which he proposed the creation and applications for what would eventually become the Science Citation Index, and the 1972 paper in the same journal “Citation analysis as a tool in journal evaluation” which detailed his rationale and approach for creating the first journal Impact Factors.

Garfield and his work have inspired generations of others to create solutions to help researchers to build upon the work of their colleagues and predecessors in advancing the frontiers of human knowledge, including many of us here at Scopus. Thank you, Gene.