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An international team of information scientists has begun a two-year study to investigate how web links in scientific and other academic articles fail to lead to the resources being referenced.
This is the focus of the Hiberlink project in which the team from Los Alamos National Laboratory and the University of Edinburgh will assess the extent of “reference rot” using a vast corpus of online scholarly work. It is funded by a grant of $500,000 from the US-based Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, coordinated by EDINA, the designated online services center at the University of Edinburg, which serves the needs of universities and colleges across the UK.
“Increasingly, scientific papers contain links to web pages containing, for example, project descriptions, demonstrations, and software. But, as we all know, web pages change or disappear,” said Herbert Van de Sompel, the Los Alamos principal investigator on the project. “Currently, there is no archival infrastructure to safeguard such pages and hence revisiting them some time after they were linked from a paper is many times impossible. The result is a broken scholarly record.”
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