A Survey of the Current Status of Web-Based Databases Indexing Iranian Journals
Background: The scientific output of Iran is increasing rapidly during the recent years. Unfortunately, most papers are published in journals which are not indexed by popular indexing systems and many of them are in Persian without English translation. This makes the results of Iranian scientific research unavailable to other researchers, including Iranians. The aim of this study was to evaluate the quality of current web-based databases indexing scientific articles published in Iran. Methods: We identified web-based databases which indexed scientific journals published in Iran using popular search engines. The sites were then subjected to a series of tests to evaluate their coverage, search capabilities, stability, accuracy of information, consistency, accessibility, ease of use, and other features. Results were compared with each other to identify strengths and shortcomings of each site. Results: Five web sites were indentified. None had a complete coverage on scientific Iranian journals. The search capabilities were less than optimal in most sites. English translations of research titles, author names, keywords, and abstracts of Persian-language articles did not follow standards. Some sites did not cover abstracts. Numerous typing errors make searches ineffective and citation indexing unreliable. Conclusions: None of the currently available indexing sites are capable of presenting Iranian research to the international scientific community. The government should intervene by enforcing policies designed to facilitate indexing through a systematic approach. The policies should address Iranian journals, authors, and indexing sites. Iranian journals should be required to provide their indexing data, including references, electronically; authors should provide correct indexing information to journals; and indexing sites should improve their software to meet standards set by the government.