Discovery, Duplication, and Documentation: A Case Study
Data on the rate of discovery of antibiotics and the frequency of rediscovery of known antibiotics, from different organisms, in different countries, during the period 1907-1967, are presented. The problems in deeming a rediscovery of a known antibiotic as unnecessary wastage of research potential and the role of documentation in this complex situation are mentioned. The duplication of discoveries reported in a country is the highest in the reports published in that country itself (Self-Duplication). It is also found that the number of cases of self-duplication is the highest in the same year as the publication of the original report. The curve for self-duplication has alternate peaks and troughs for the first ten years of the discovery and then falls off. The emergence of the two specialities - Biochemical Engineering and Biochemical Technology - mainly from the work on antibiotics, is pointed out. The structure of these two subjects as represented in the Colon Classification is discussed.
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