This study examines acknowledgments to libraries in the journal literature, as well as the efficacy of using Web of Science (WoS) to locate general acknowledgment text.
This mixed-methods approach quantifies and characterizes acknowledgments to libraries in the journal literature. Using WoS's Funding Text field, the acknowledgments for six peer universities were identified and then characterized. The efficacy of using WoS to locate library acknowledgments was assessed by comparing the WoS Funding Text search results to the actual acknowledgment text found in the articles.
Acknowledgments to libraries were found in articles at all six peer universities, though the absolute and relative numbers were quite low (< 0.5%). Most of the library acknowledgments were for resources (collections, funding, etc.), and many were concentrated in natural history (e.g. zoology). Examination of Texas A&M University zoology articles found that 91.7% of the funding information came from “acknowledgments” and not specifically a funding acknowledgment section. The WoS Funding Text search found 56% of the library acknowledgments compared to a search of the actual acknowledgment text in the articles.
Limiting publications to journals, using a single truncated search term, and including only six research universities in the United States.
This study examined library acknowledgments, but the same approach could be applied to searches of other keywords, institutions/organizations, individuals, etc. While not specifically designed to search general acknowledgments, WoS's Funding Text field can be used as an exploratory tool to search acknowledgments beyond funding.
There are a few studies that have examined library acknowledgments in the scholarly literature, though to date none of those studies have examined the efficacy of using the WoS Funding Text field to locate those library acknowledgments within the journal literature.