ISI includes meeting abstracts now?

September 12, 2012

In the past, the ISI Web of Science appeared only to include those meeting abstracts that appeared in an actual print journal. That is, some academic societies will publish the text of the abstracts from their annual meeting in a Supplement to their captive journal.

I’ve recently noticed that ISI now seems to include presentation listings from societies which do not make their abstracts available in print anymore. Such as the Society for Neuroscience.

Among other things this will be a pain in the ass for looking at the citation report summary stats because they are included in the “items published” per year stats. Personally I’d like to see a default setting where you can exclude those…..now you’d have to go and use the checkbox to exclude the abstracts.

Don’t get me wrong, there are reasons to like the inclusion of the meeting presentations. You can do things like look back at how often a person’s meeting stuff turns into a paper, perhaps find a half-remembered abstract and thereby remember who to email for details, etc.

But this brings up the question of whether to cite meeting presentations in your publications. (the real ones). Will ISI index them and use them to contribute to your h-index? then heck yes you should cite them. Is this an encouragement to cite the abstract as a way to regain priority for that paper that you got scooped on? To get credit for a project for which you ultimately didn’t appear on the author line?

The possibilities are fascinating….

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No Responses Yet to “ISI includes meeting abstracts now?”


  1. But this brings up the question of whether to cite meeting presentations in your publications. (the real ones).

    HAHAHHAHAHHAAAA!!!!

    It also brings up the question about whether these data are now “previously” published when it comes time for journal submission.

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  2. The attitude towards conferences seems to vary a lot among fields. Although I’m a microbiologist by training, I did a postdoctoral stint in a computer science department, and there (and in related fields like mathematics), presenting a result at a conference does mean it’s published, and yes, they do cite them. Presenting something at a high-end CS conference like STOC is the equivalent of a glamour mag publication in biology.

    My point isn’t to argue whether the biology or CS attitude towards conferences is better, but to point out that indexing conference presentations isn’t as absurd as it may seem from a biologist’s perspective.

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  3. drugmonkey Says:

    It also brings up the question about whether these data are now “previously” published when it comes time for journal submission

    Most real journals don’t give a crap about saying the data were presented in “preliminary form” at a meeting. no problemo.

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  4. Anon Says:

    DM – this is again field-specific. There has been some flap in the chemistry community about the American Chemical Society’s decision to start recording talks at their national conferences for dissemination on the web. It is not entirely clear that the chemistry journals will not view this as “prior publication”, so many people have stopped putting any new information in their conference talks. It should be no problemo, but it isn’t.

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  5. Most real journals don’t give a crap about saying the data were presented in “preliminary form” at a meeting. no problemo.

    Unless people are citing them and using them in the h indices. Then I imagine they would start caring…

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  6. rs Says:

    does it mean the same work will count twice? typically you present the story (sometime even incomplete) in the conferences, and then later send it for publication when you have conneted all the threads.

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  7. Drugmonky Says:

    Back in the day ppl used to cite the SfN abstract books…usefully b/c departments maintained a full set. Journals didn’t care, to my knowledge. I don’t see why things should change now.

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  8. Grumble Says:

    Journals do care. Most of the ones I’ve published in have a policy against citing abstracts. Instead you have to write, “Grumble et al., unpublished observations” or similar.

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  9. biochembelle Says:

    “Most real journals don’t give a crap about saying the data were presented in “preliminary form” at a meeting. no problemo.”

    Unless your poster is publicly available online. Some journals do care abt this (as I understand it mainly due to copyright issues). Which IMHO is ridiculous.

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  10. Drugmonky Says:

    Grumble-

    In the case where the abstract has been published in a print volume as well?

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  11. miko Says:

    Clearly the solution is to get as many large publishers’ and meeting organizers’ lawyers involved to settle these issues in the simplest and most logical manner possible.

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  12. Drugmonky Says:

    I like the way you think, miko

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  13. Drugmonky Says:

    Srsly though folks…howsabout the using abstract cites to assert priority, defuse scooping and latching onto a project that ultimately you were struck from?

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  14. Grumble Says:

    DM – yes. “Abstracts of work presented at meetings may not be cited.” Doesn’t matter whether the absract is in a paper book or online only. I’m pretty sure J Neurosci has a similar policy, but I can’t find it explicitly stated on their website.

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  15. miko Says:

    “I like the way you think, miko”

    Thanks, just put that comment in the “blurb” section of my cv, along with the screenshot of time someone scientifically famous became my fb friend.

    “I like the way you think, miko”

    Is your place hiring? Is it in a high quality of life metropolitan area? I could probably get these little fuckers addicted to something.

    #eyesontheprize #iamALWAYSinterviewing

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  16. drugmonkey Says:

    Why am I not surprised a GlamourMag has that, Grumble?

    If you are having trouble finding this on a real journal’s website perhaps your assumptions are off…

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  17. Grumble Says:

    Neuron isn’t a real journal? Glamorous, maybe, but it’s undeniably real.

    I seem to remember being asked to remove references to abstracts in a submission to J Neurosci, but (a) I could be misremembering, or (b) the policy could have changed since then.

    My curiosity piqued, I checked several other non-Glam general neuroscience journals and found that either they don’t mention limitations on citing abstracts or say explicitly that it’s OK as long as the abstract is the only source. But both Neuron and Nat Neurosci proscribe the practice. So maybe your right that it’s a Glam-specific phenomenon.

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  18. drugmonkey Says:

    But both Neuron and Nat Neurosci proscribe the practice

    and now you are starting down the path of realizing how to distinguish a real journal (focused on science) from the other sort (focused on sensationalism and notoriety, rather than scientific advance).

    Think about it, what could POSSIBLY be the point of a journal caring whether you cited a meeting abstract or not?

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  19. rs Says:

    DM, I like the points and discussions you raise about advocating science and nothing else. Wish you were in majority.

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  20. Grumble Says:

    You don’t need to lecture me about the differences between Glamour and non-Glamour journals – I know all about it, DM. I’m as aggravated by their “focus on sensationalism and notoriety” as the next scientist who’s been rejected from them a million times. However, saying that the sensational and notoriety-promoting science they publish somehow isn’t real science is as silly as saying that the science published in non-Glams isn’t real because it isn’t sensational and notoriety-inducing.

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  21. drugmonkey Says:

    As far as I am aware Grumble I use the term “real journal”, but not “real science”, when I am discussing GlamourMag journals.

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