Economic effects of link-based search engines on e-journals

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Sun, 1 Oct 2000 10:04:26 +0100

Eric's observation below, about google's link-frequency-based rankings
is fine for web-wide commerce. But it would be more useful and relevant
for researchers if a special, google-style search engine were devised
that searched only the refereed research literature on keywords, and
then returned results on the basis of citation-link-frequency (i.e.,
the most cited papers on that keyword first).

For this, the refereed (and pre-refereeing) literature needs to be:

(1) identifiable by agreed upon meta-data tagging:

(2) online (preferably full-text and free):


(3) fully citation-linked:


    Harnad, S. & Carr, L. (2000) Integrating, Navigating and Analyzing
    Eprint Archives Through Open Citation Linking (the OpCit Project).
    Current Science 79(5) 629-638.

Stevan Harnad
Professor of Cognitive Science
Department of Electronics and phone: +44 23-80 592-582
             Computer Science fax: +44 23-80 592-865
University of Southampton
Highfield, Southampton

NOTE: A complete archive of the ongoing discussion of providing free
access to the refereed journal literature online is available at the
American Scientist September Forum (98 & 99 & 00):

You may join the list at the site above.

Discussion can be posted to:

On Sun, 1 Oct 2000, Eric Hellman wrote:

> Google changes everything.
> Up to now, the key to the internet has been directories and search
> engines. A mom-and-pop website that managed to get top position for
> the phrase "cell phone" in a top search engine was generating
> $1,000,000 of sales per quarter, earning 10% commissions from
> affiliate programs. What this website did was to figure out the
> combination of keywords and phrases that the search engine liked-
> nothing else.
> The current trend in search engines has been to start putting a lot
> of weight onto the frequency and quality of sites that link to a
> particular web page. Led by Google, the new breed of search engines
> get astoundingly good results, at least in part because they're very
> hard to rig with keyword stuffing and the like. Slowly but surely,
> the economic power of sites with rich, properly presented content is
> growing back up to where it should be, and the days of the keyword
> sharpshooters are numbered.
> Having other sites link to your web site is now of growing economic
> value. In order for a site to have value in link-based search
> engines, it is important to:
> 1. Have a lot of freely available content.
> 2. Expose the site to indexing robots.
> 3. Receive links in ways that don't confuse robots. This can be
> tricky and engine-dependent. An example relevant to this list is how
> robots deal with redirection as done by the doi proxy. Send me a note
> if you want details, or if you want tips on how to put your site on
> top of google.
> It is instructive to look at the google site rankings, and really fun
> when your site comes up at the top:
> "research" The Materials Research Society
> "science" Space Telescope Science Institute Home Page
> "nature" Nature Medicine: Home
> "medicine" Nature Medicine: Home
> "physics" Dept. of Phys. and Astro., Univ. of
> Pennsylvania
> "chemistry" Journal of Biological Chemistry
> "semiconductor" MRS Internet J. of Nitride Semicond. Res.
> "psychology" Journal of Pediatric Psychology
> "mathematics" Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics
> "engineering" mechanical engineering home page
> paid links for the keywords "semiconductor", "engineering" and
> "medicine" point at a chip company, and,
> indicating real value of the top placement.
> In the long run, I believe that many well-designed, free-to-read
> e-journals will derive substantial operating revenue from their
> ability to capture and influence top spots in the new breed of search
> engines.
> Eric
> Eric Hellman
> Openly Informatics, Inc.
> 21st Century Information Infrastructure
> LinkBaton: Your Links that Learn
> ------------------------------------------------------
> Ref-Links maillist -
Received on Mon Jan 24 2000 - 19:17:43 GMT

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