Beginning in mid-February 2008, the 1997-2007 online version of the Science Watch® newsletter,, and, will all be featured together on the redesigned All previous content from the three sites will be permanently archived, and remain accessible from any existing bookmarks to the archived pages. No new content will be added to this site. Updates and new content (updated biweekly) are available at now.
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about in-cites

his website—incites—provides commentary and analysis on some of the most influential scientific discoveries of our time in the words of the scientists who made those discoveries. It is designed to complement the publication, citation, and citations-per-paper rankings, and other data, featured in Essential Science Indicators from Thomson Scientific. Essential Science Indicators is a ten-year compilation of output and impact statistics on research authors, institutions, countries, and journals. It also includes listings of highly cited and so-called hot papers across 22 broad fields, as well as baseline citation statistics to gauge whether a paper is cited above or less than average. [Note: click to see the Essential Science Indicators latest version info]

Having used citation-count data to identify top research contributions and contributors, Essential Science Indicators editorial staff solicits commentary by scientists and science administrators in an attempt to understand their achievements and air the stories behind their successes. As such, incites is the successor to Thomson Scientific’s popular Citation Classics Commentary feature, which was offered in the print editions of Current Contents from 1977 to 1993.

No less an authority than Robert K. Merton, professor emeritus of Columbia University and our most eminent sociologist of science, praised those Citation Classic commentaries. 

"They tell, in brief compass, how the research came to be; report problems encountered in getting the work into print; and reflect on what the authors take to be the reasons for that work having received widespread notice," he wrote. "These short, and sometimes pithy, accounts thus supply the sort of contextual information that has been systematically screened out of scientific or scholarly publications by institutionalized editorial conventions. Those conventions, as they have evolved over the centuries, call for restricting accounts in the usual journals to what are defined as ‘the essentials’: the design of inquiry, the technical procedures employed, the findings, and their implications. But not how the inquiry actually proceeded. The mores of scientific and scholarly publication therefore lead authors to write up their research in logically coherent (and preferably cogent) rather than biographically descriptive and analytical fashion." (in Eugene Garfield, Editor, Contemporary Classics in the Social and Behavioral Sciences, Thomson Scientific Press: Philadelphia, 1987, pg. vii).

We encourage scientists, in incites, to tell us "how the inquiry actually proceeded." We value the personal, biographical details.

incites is organized into sections: scientists, papers, institutions, countries, and journals. Each contribution is prefaced with the information about its position in the Essential Science Indicators rankings. Also, each edition of incites will be archived so that all commentaries will remain accessible and citable, since each article has a citing month and URL at the top and bottom of the article. We welcome your comments and links from your individual or institutional web pages. 

As mentioned, incites was inspired by the founder of the Institute of Scientific Information (ISI) -
Eugene Garfield - who first published these vignettes of discovery and continues to do so in the pages of his biweekly newspaper The Scientist, where readers will find commentaries by scientists on hot papers, which have been identified through the citation data of Thomson Scientific. - Tracking Trends and Perfomance in Basic Research
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