<b><font size=-2>The ISI-VINITI Connection - Remarks on the 50th Anniversary of VINITI 

The ISI-VINITI Connection � 

Remarks on the 50th Anniversary of VINITI


Eugene Garfield

Chairman Emeritus, ISI®
President and Founding Editor, The Scientist®
Philadelphia, PA19104, U.S.A.
Tel. 215-243-2205
Home Page: http://garfield.library.upenn.edu

Presented in Moscow at the 6th International Conference of Information Society,
Intelligent Information Processing and Information Technologies.  
October 16-18, 2002.
Published in the Proceedings of the Conference, p.409-411, 2002

The relationship between ISI (Institute for Scientific Information) of Philadelphia and the All Union Institute for Scientific and Technical Information (VINITI) predates my first informal encounter with a few VINITI employees during my first  visit to Moscow in 1961.  That was the year of the 5th International Congress of Biochemistry held in Moscow.
In 1952, I began publishing Contents in Advances at the Johns Hopkins University project and continued to publish it while at library school.  In June, 1954, I left Columbia University to serve as a private documentation consultant to Smith, Kline & French Laboratories.  Then in 1955, Eugene Garfield Associates began publishing Current Contents for management and social sciences.  In 1957, we began Current Contents for the pharmaceutical industry. (Its full title was Current Contents of Chemical,  Pharmaco-Medical, & Life Sciences.)  In 1960, Eugene Garfield Associates became the Institute for Scientific Information of Philadelphia (ISI).  Our name was in part inspired by the founding of VINITI.
The  detailed history of ISI, a private non-governmental commercial institution, is more than adequately described in the literature.[1],[2],[3]Few people here will recall my blatant youthful challenge to CAS and VINITI when we changed our name to ISI.[4]We proposed to solve the scientific information crisis with our smaller staff in contrast to the thousands required to produce traditional abstracting a la Chemical Abstracts and VINITI.In 1960, the Science Citation Index (SCI) had not yet started.That was the year we began the experimental Genetics Citation Index[5] and also launched the Index Chemicus.[6]
Our initial challenge to traditional abstracting services was the launch of Current Contents.By 1960, the Life Sciences edition was only about three years old but was already quite popular.As I have often stated, Current Contents is my real claim to fame.But for all intents and purposes it is ignored by historians of library and information science.If you mention ISI to librarians they usually think of SCI or the Social Sciences Citation Index.If you mention ISI to senior scientists they will mainly think of Current Contents.Butthat generality is gradually changing as the differences between CC and SCI become blurred in the ISI Web of Knowledge.

This brief history of ISI is significant in explaining why I and other speakers have come here to laud the historic effort made by the founders of VINITI and theReferatvnyi Zhurnali to meet the challenge of Western abstracting services.In the West we had dozens of disciplinary indexing services in the chemical, physical, biological, engineering, and agricultural sciences.Most of these are members of National Federation of Abstracting and Indexing Services.When the Academy of Sciences of the USSR decided to launch VINITI, it clearly was the appropriate multi-disciplinary solution to the needs of Soviet science.It had all the advantages and disadvantages of what were already traditional approaches to the literature in the West.Not only were VINITI Russian language abstracts useful but its multi-disciplinary coverage was unique and made it useful even in the West due to its comprehensive coverage of Russian and Eastern literature.Indeed, my paper at the 1958 International Conference on Scientific Information in Washington described the need for a unified approach to indexing the literature.[7]

This concept of multi-disciplinarity would later be a center piece of SCI philosophy.

A significant disadvantage of both Eastern and Western abstracting services was lack of timeliness.Current Contents provided this key ingredient in disseminating scientific information.Especially in theera of Sputnik, six months delay in abstracting was intolerable.Such a delay in today�s era of the World Wide Web would be considered archaic.The time dimension has completely changed.Now everything is up on the web even before it is �published.�
The second novel aspect of CC wasaccessibility.By providing a simple author address directory, readers could request reprints from authors -- and they did so by the millions.Any senior scientist knows how much this directory was utilized by colleagues worldwide.Scientists throughout the world remember the beautiful Soviet stamps used on reprint request cards from the USSR.
There was another unintended effect of Current Contents in the East.For reasons that are not completely understood, Current Contents was not delayed by the Soviet censors.Apparently it was not perceived as a traditional journal.Consequently, my weekly essays in CC were widely read by Soviet and Eastern scientists and helps explain why my name was well known in the USSR.Of course, I did not use my CC pulpit to criticize the political system.I simply provided a small window on the West by discussing themes of universal interest which seemed to be appreciated.As I was often told by Eastern Bloc and Sovietscientists, they did not need for me to point out the flaws of communist society any more than American scientists needed to be remindedof the flaws in capitalist society.
After the official launch of the SCI in 1964, ISI increasingly became identifiedwith science policy studies.SCI made the field of scientometrics a practical possibility.This was immediately evident to scholars such as Robert K. Merton and Vassily V. Nalimov, whose 1969 book Naukometriya[8] recognized this fact.I have recently posted the English translation to my website at:
In subsequent years, I and others published many scientometric studies of Soviet science.[9]I first met V. V. Nalimov at the Moscow Book Fair in the early sixties and then regularly until his death.ISI Press was proud to publish four of his books in English.[10]A further VINITI connection to ISI was the membership of Professor Mikhailov on the Editorial Advisory Board of the SCI.Beyond that VINITI connection were my lecture tours in the USSR.This was due primarily to the vision of Victor Vaskovsky of the Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy at Vladivostok who recognized the importance of the SCI.He became a member of the SCI Editorial Board.Through him I became associated with the Marine Biology Laboratory and its present and former directors, Professors Vladimir Kasyanov and Alexey Zhirmunsky.

There was also a significant historic link between ISI and VINITI because of my personal acquaintance with J. D. Bernal.It is well known that he was sympathetic to the goals of the Russian Revolution but my initial link to Bernal was through his book Social Function of Science[11] which I read as a high school student.Much later I learned of his interest in scientific information and the science of science.When I joined the Johns Hopkins University research group in 1951, I read his contribution to the Proceedings of the 1947 Royal Society Information Conference.[12] I met Bernal for the first time when he came to Washington for the 1958 International Conference on Scientific Information.In Mikhailov�s paper for the ICSI Conference, it is significant that he cited the earlier work of Bernal.[13]Bernal was among the few people to whom I sent the earliest experimental printouts of the SCI in 1962 � at the same time that I wrote to Professor Derek deSolla Price, one of Bernal�s admirers, and to Professor Robert K. Merton, the sociologist of science.As a result of these contacts, Price,Merton and his wife Professor Harriet Zuckerman became my mentors and close friends.

In his ICSU paper, Professor Mikhailov acknowledged that as a relatively new organization VINITI had not yet solved the problem of compiling indexes to the Referatvnyi Zhurnali.That may account for the interest in the SCI in the USSR.I will never forget seeing the long line of readers waiting to use the SCI at the Lenin Library!
In subsequent visits to Moscow I presented co-citation analyses of Soviet and global science.This seemed to me to be almost ironic because we were able to provide Soviet scientists a unique view of their contribution to global science.Sometimes they had not appreciated the high impact of Soviet science in certain areas or how far behind they were in fields like genetics.

I have only mentioned a few highlights of the ISI-VINITI connection, but I am sure it will open the door to many questions which I will gladly answer.I regret that neither Professor Mikhailov nor Professor Nalimov are here to share this moment with us.I am glad to see Dr. V. M. Sakharov, Vice Director of the Russian Academy Library.I also want to acknowledge Valentina Markusova. Her persistence led to my decision to make this journey.Last but not least, I am happy to acknowledge my old friend and collaborator from Vladivostok, Dr. Alexander Pudovkin.

[1] Garfield E.�How It All Began,�Current Contents, No. 3, pages 5-8 (January 21, 1980).Reprinted in Essays of an Information Scientist, Volume 4, pgs. 359-362.Philadelphia:ISI Press (1981).http://garfield.library.upenn.edu/essays/v4p359y1979-80.pdf
[2] Garfield E.�The Who and Why of ISI,�Karger Gazette No. 13, pg. 2 (March 5, 1966)
[3] Garfield E.Eugene Garfield:Oral History.Transcript of Interview Conducted by A. Thackray and J. L. Sturchio for the Beckman Center for the History of Chemistry.November 16, 1987.
[4] During the 1960�s, numerous Senate hearings on the science-information problem were conducted by the Committee on Government Operations, Subcommittee on Reorganization and International Organizations (Senator Hubert H. Humphrey, chair). See, for example, Interagency Coordination of Information (published pursuant to Senate Resolution 276, 87th Congress, 21 Sept., 1962) (Government Printing Office, Washington DC, 1963).For the House of Representatives, see, among others, National Information Center (Hearings on H.R. 1946 before the Committee on Education and Labor, Ad Hoc Subcommittee on Research Data Processing and Information Retrieval (Roman Pucinsky, Chair). (Government Printing Office, Washington DC, 1963)
[5] Garfield E and Sher IH.Genetics Citation Index.Philadephia:Institute for Scientific Information, 864 pgs. (1963)
[6] Garfield E.�From Laboratory to Information Explosions � The Evolution of Chemical Information Services at ISI,�Paper presented at the ASIS Meeting on Historical Perspectives on Knowledge Dissemination, Washington DC, November 1, 1999.
[7] Garfield, E. "A Unified Index to Science," Proceedings of the International Conference on Scientific Information. 1958. Washington, D.C.: National Academy of Sciences - National Research Council, 1, p.461-74, 1959.  Reprinted in:Current Contents No. 52, pgs. 5-20 (December 27, 1976).Also reprinted in Essays of an Information Scientist, Volume .2,pgs 672-688.Philadelphia:ISI Press (1977).
[8] Nalimov VV and Mul�chenko ZM.  Naukometriya.  Izuchenie nauki kak informatsionnogo protsessa (Scientometrics.  Study of science as an information process.)  Moscow:  Nauka, 192 pgs. (1969).  (Available in English on microfilm:  Measurement of science.  Study of the development of science as an information process.  Washington, DC:  Foreign Technology Division, U.S. Air Force Systems Command, 13 October 1971. 196pgs.).Also available at:
[9]Garfield, E.�The Russian Are Coming Part I. The Red-Hot 100 Soviet Scientists, 1973-1988.Current Contents No. 24, pages 5-18 (June 11, 1990).Reprinted in Essays of an Information Scientist, Volume12, pages 202-215 (1991)
Garfield, E.�The Russian Are Coming , Part 2. The Top 50 Soviet Papers Most-Cited in the 1973-1988 Science Citation Index and a Look at 1988 Research Fronts� Current Contents No. 25, pages 3-13 (June 18, 1990).Reprinted in Essays of an Information Scientist, Volume12, pages 216-226 (1991)
[10] a.Nalmov VV.In the Labrynths of Language:A Mathematician�s journey.Philadelphia:ISI Press, 246 pgs. (1981).
b._________.Faces of Science.Philadelphia:ISI Press, 297 pgs. (1981).
c._________.Realms of the Unconscious:the Enchanted Frontier.Philadelphia:ISI Press, 320 pgs. (1982).
d._________.Space, Time, and Life.Philadelphia:ISI Press, 110 pgs. (1985).
[11]Bernal, JD. Social Function of Science. London: G. Routledge & Sons, Ltd., 482 pgs. (1939). Cambridge: M.I.T.Press, 482 pgs. (1967).
[12] Bernal JD�Provisional Scheme for central distribution of scientific publications,�Royal Society Scientific Information Conference Report and Papers, pages 253-258.London:The Royal Society (1948).
[13] Mikhailov, AI.�The Transmission of Scientific Information:A User�s Analysis.�Proceedings of the International Conference on Scientific Information. 1958. Washington, D.C.: National Academy of Sciences - National Research Council, 1, p.511-21, 1959.