Accessibility and longevity of internet citations in a clinical AIDS journal
Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome
Little is known about the accessibility and longevity of Internet references in medical and scientific journals. This is particularly problematic in the ever changing field of HIV/AIDS. We examined all issues of AIDS Patient Care and STDs between 2001 and 2004 to test the use and accessibility of Internet citations during this period. The results were compared to findings from a similar evaluation by Hester and colleagues in 2004 of oncology journals. We found that Internet referencing increased from a mean of 0.7% (range, 0.0%-2.1%) of all citations in 2001 to a mean of 3.5% (range, 0.0%-11.2%) in 2004. As the period of time increased from an article's publication, the proportion of inactive Internet references increased (21.3% [1 year] to 41.7% [4 years]). These findings demonstrate the need to adapt new citation policies to facilitate the accessibility of referenced Internet information.