Research Article: Avoiding URL Reference Degradation in Scientific Publications

Date Published: April 13, 2004

Publisher: Public Library of Science

Author(s): Desiree P Kelly, Eric J Hester, Kathryn R Johnson, Lauren F Heilig, Amanda L Drake, Lisa M Schilling, Robert P Dellavalle

Abstract: Arguments are presented concerning the deposit of Internet-based information into the Internet Archive, a digital library of Internet sites and other digital data.

Partial Text: While we applaud PloS’ use of Digital Object Identifiers (“The What and Whys of DOIs,” PLoS Biol 1: e57 doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.0000057), we also note the lack of provisions in your instructions for authors for preserving access to electronic information residing at a cited Internet addresses via Uniform Resource Locators (URLs). Medical and scientific literature increasingly cites information only found on the Internet. However, URLs may become inaccessible shortly after article publication.

Ms. Kelly and colleagues raise an important issue about the ephemeral nature of many information sources on the Internet. In the case of online scholarly literature, information is more likely to be archived and able to be found—indeed, an open-access article is one in which, according to the Bethesda Definition, “A complete version of the work and all supplemental materials, including a copy of the permission…, in a suitable standard electronic format is deposited immediately upon initial publication in at least one online repository that is supported by an academic institution, scholarly society, government agency, or other well-established organization that seeks to enable open access, unrestricted distribution, interoperability, and long-term archiving (for the biomedical sciences, PubMed Central is such a repository).”



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