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Hurley, B. Chemical Literature Databases: Conflict of Interest?
A publisher of a research database controls the search algorithms of its database and, at a minimum, partially controls the indexing metadata attached to journal articles indexed in its database. A publisher of a journal partially controls the indexing metadata attached to articles in that journal. A publisher who publishes both a research database and journals that are indexed in that database has significant control over two major aspects of the discovery process. This allows the possibility for a publisher to introduce a bias into its algorithm that could favor discovery of its own articles. This work looks at search results from three scientific databases and discusses this possible conflict of interest.