Using Prior Information Derived from Citations in Literature Search
Researchers spend a large amount of their time searching through an ever increasing number of scientific articles. Although users of scientific literature search engines prefer the ranking of results according to the number of citations a publication has received, it is unknown whether this notion of authoritativeness could also benefit more traditional and objective measures. Is it also an indicator of relevance, given an information need? In this paper, we examine the relationship between citation features of a scientific article and its prior probability of actually being relevant to an information need. We propose various ways of modeling this relationship and show how this kind of contextual information can be incorporated within a language modeling framework. We experiment with three document priors, which we evaluate on three distinct sets of queries and two document collections from the TREC Genomics track. Empirical results show that two of the proposed priors can significantly improve retrieval effectiveness, measured in terms of mean average precision.