PubMed Limits to Replace with Filters Sidebar and Author Ranking

PuMed will get a new look soon. The May/June NLM Technical Bulletin announced the Limits page will be replaced by a results filter sidebar. The filter sidebar will work the same way as the limit selections page. For pictures on the upcoming change go to the Tech Bull.

Additionally the PubMed default Review and Free full text filters will also be moved to the filters sidebar. Filter your results portlet will eventually be added to the filters sidebar too.

The PubMed Abstract display will soon also be displaying author results using a ranking algorithm when searchers click on the author search link. This change was done to try and help deal with articles from authors of common names.

See the Tech Bull for pictures and a better explannation.

When you click on an author’s name in the abstract display, PubMed conducts an author search. In the past if you clicked on Smith, J. You would get a list of all article by every Smith, J in publication date order. With these new changes, “If an author name is computationally similar to an author name for additional PubMed citations, the results will display those citations first, in ranked order, followed by the non-similar citations. The results sort notation will display as ‘Sorted by Computed Author”

If I understand this correctly PubMed will look at the original Smith, J article and compare it with other Smith, J articles and displays the citations to article that the orginial Smith, J probably authored ahead of others he might not have authored. So if you are looking for articles by the cardiologist Smith, J the article citations for the urologist who is also Smith, J won’t appear at the top of the results.

Since most people tend to publish in their own area of expertise this should be helpful. The only thing you have to do is make sure you account for those times where they publish outside of their usual field.

Of course all of this would be moot if NLM would adopt standard author ID numbers like other databases have done.

2 thoughts on “PubMed Limits to Replace with Filters Sidebar and Author Ranking”

  1. I received an email comment from a person who said that PubMed will eventually have author IDs, they just don’t want to invent them and the process to maintain them. It’s expensive and they are waiting to see what the publishing industry agrees on as the standard.

    For old people like me think of the Betamax or VHS debate. For younger people think of HD DVD vs. Blu-ray.

  2. It may seem clunky, and probably is, but from what I’ve seen with efforts by Web of Knowledge and Scopus to get author IDs going; the less involvement from researchers, the more they like the idea. More complex algorithms that means they do less work is probably more palatable to most researchers, no matter the back end clunkiness.

    Personally, I’ve found that most researchers-especially faculty or clinician researchers-are so swamped for time, that even learning about the usefulness of an authorID, how to register for one and then learning they have to self-monitor, is just a handful of extra minutes and brain cells that doesn’t seem necessary in the long-run when they can just run and author search and scan for relevance.

    Not saying they are all like this, but many are. I think NLM is trying to come to a compromise that can work ok until we figure out how to make author IDs actually work.

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