A TERRIBLE implementation of Name Searching on ACS Journals


Yes, I am a Williams. And THAT is an incredibly common surname. But I am an Antony Williams, notice no H in the name, i.e. NOT Anthony. In the field of chemistry there are not many of us around…a couple I know of, but not many overall. Google Scholar does an extremely good job of automatically associating my newly published articles with my Citations profile here: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=O2L8nh4AAAAJ

The last five articles automatically associated with my profile. I do NOT make any associations manually at this point.

The last five articles automatically associated with my profile. I do NOT make any associations manually at this point.

I am assuming that this is done by understanding the type of work I publish on, some of the co-author network maps that have been established as my profile has developed etc. I assume that there approach is very intelligent relative to some of the more commonplace searches that have been implemented….certainly the results are GOOD.

I noticed one disastrous example today when our article “ChemTrove: Enabling a Generic ELN to Support Chemistry Through the Use of Transferable Plug-ins and Online Data Sources” was published on the Journal of Chemical Information and Modeling here. Right there to the left of the abstract is an offer to look at other content by the authors.

Look for related content by the authors on JCIM

Look for related content by the authors on JCIM

I was interested to see what else ACS knew about my content so I clicked on my name…which performed this search: http://pubs.acs.org/action/doSearch?ContribStored=Williams%2C+A  and provided me with 96 articles by Andrew Williams (mostly), by Aaron Williams, by Anthony Williams (not me) and Allan Williams (to name a few). Eventually I managed to find 3 that were associated with me by searching the list for Antony Williams but none of those I published as Antony J. Williams were recovered.

Also, my colleague Valery Tkachenko is listed as an author with a misspelling as Valery Tkachenkov. What is simply inappropriate in my opinion is how the process involved taking the list of our submitted names..copied below directly from the submitted manuscript and changing them to their own interpretation of how we would want to see our names listed.

From this:

Aileen E. Day*†, Simon J. Coles, Colin L. Bird, Jeremy G. Frey, Richard J. Whitby, Valery E. Tkachenko§, Antony J. Williams§

To This:

Names changed from the original manuscript to those produced at submission

Names changed from the original manuscript to those produced at submission

Notice that for Aileen and Jeremy the middle initials were expanded, Colin had his middle initial changed from L. to I.,  Richard, Valery and I had our middle initials dropped and Valery had a v added to his surname. Why not simply copy and paste the names from the manuscript?

I will point out that this is a “Just Accepted” manuscript and likely the changes in names will be caught and edited, especially now I have just pointed them out. “Just accepted” does have some disclaimers:

The disclaimers regarding Just Accepted manuscripts

The disclaimers regarding Just Accepted manuscripts

While they can edit the names to match what we originally provided I don’t think it will fix the issue regarding finding all of my articles on ACS journals as when  navigated to one of my other articles here, http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es0713072, and did the search from my listed name it found exactly the same 96 hits.

Maybe a thought to use my ORCID profile http://orcid.org/0000-0002-2668-4821 to look for ACS journal articles associated with my name?

Unfortunately the data is already out in the wild as when I claimed the article on Kudos all of the name spelling issues had clearly spilled over via the DOI: https://www.growkudos.com/articles/10.1021%252Fci5005948

Names transferred via DOI to the Grow Kudos Platform

Names transferred via DOI to the Grow Kudos Platform

Ah…the things that surprise me….or not.

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