Arabic initiatives in development of Open Source Software for Arabic citation Engine: SAACI as a Case Study

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Arabic initiatives in development of Open Source Software for Arabic citation Engine: SAACI as a Case Study

Saleh Alzeheimi ; Akram M Zeki; Adamu Abubakar

Abstract— Recently, there are various software for citation index such as Scopus, Google Scholar, Journal of Citation Report (JCR) and others. These software have some disadvantages such as 1) not provide support to analysis literature which are written in Arabic; 2) built as a commercial and closed software. So, this study aims to explore Arabic initiatives in development of OSS Arabic citation engine that as alternative of existing software. It also aims to investigate the ability of Systematic Analysis for Arabic Citation Index (SAACI).

Index Terms— Bibliometrics management software, Open source software, Citation Index, Systematic Analysis for Arabic Citation reference (SAACI). 

[1] Information System (Doctoral Candidate), Kullyiah of Communication and Information Technology (ICT), International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) (Tel: (0060)1126649116; e-mail: )



     Bibliometrics is one of important scientific research tools for analysis the characteristics of literature in specific subjects. This tool helps researchers and institutions to know relatives or separated subjects, knowledge sharing, the core of resources, impact factor of journals, high contribution among authors and other systematic analysis. According to Qasim (1984), increasing of amount of journal requests to find the scientific tools to choose and evaluate the printed journals by librarians.In view of this importance, it has spread many systems for foreign mechanism which cares analysing intellectual foreign heritage and statistical indications and measurements of bibliometric, among the popular of this system, Scopus and  Journal of Citation Report (JCR).

     With the availability of many studies, which discussed the mechanism of these systems, whether both through the use of analysis of a particular intellectual heritage or through the evaluation of this system, and the extent of the commitment for measurements and bibliometric laws. But Arabic Studies (studies, which means an analysis of Arab intellectual Heritage) had not benefited much from this systems, as it does not support sources and citations written in Arabic language, these forcing researchers and those who focus on bibliometric studies and analysis of characteristics of a particular intellectual heritage, to use manual methods of analysis and application bibliometric laws. With the existence of this gap, this study aims to explore Arabic initiatives in development of OSS Arabic citation engine that as alternative of existing software. It also aims to investigate the ability of Systematic Analysis for Arabic Citation Index (SAACI).


1.    What is the current Arab initiatives in development of open source software for Arabic citation engine?

2.    What are the technical aspects and analysis for Systematic Analysis for Arabic Citation Index (SAACI)?


Among the studies, which dealt with the characteristics of the Arab Intellectual heritage, is the study of (Timraz, 1991) title: The characteristics of intellectual heritage that can use for the Arabia researchers in the area of engineering in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In the same year, Al Dausari used in his study the bibliometric curriculum, entitled An information communication among the Arabia researchers in pure Sciences. In the year 1993, the study of Muhammad AminTurkustanidealt touched An Intellectual heritage in the field of Libraries and Information: Bibliometric Study. In (1993) Faisal Al-haddad, has used in his bibliometric analysis, entitled: Studies and citations in reference in the world books magazine: bibliometric study. In year (1994) Yusuf Qandil has focused on analysis in Citations in the library message magazine. In the year (2002) the study of Electronic Publishing in ten years 1990-1999 bibliometric study. For both AmalHamdiand Muhammad Ghunaimstudy aimed to identify the main features of an intellectual heritage. In the year 2002 the study of Rabia and Hasna’aMahjub entitled An Intellectual heritage for Arab women in the field of Libraries and Information. They aimed to analyse the basic characteristics of an intellectual heritage for Arab women. In 2003, the KhalifahAbdul Sattarhas addressed in his study “The use of an electronic source for information in the area of library and information through analysis of citation references with an internet sources in Arabic Periodicals articles”. In the year 2003 Yusriyyah Za’yid has prepared a study entitled: An available electronic source for distances citations reference: An analytical Study for the department of libraries thesis, documentation and information in Cairo. During the period of 1998-2003, she studied the availability of distance study of electronic sources has addressed. In the year 2004 the study of Haifa Umar has come, entitled: The characteristics of an intellectual heritage in the field of information technology through analysis of citations in Arab Periodicals. In the other study entitled: An intellectual heritage for doctors in the modern era,  Muhammad Al-misri has done it in the year 1981 has done. Shauqi Salim in the year 1990 had a study entitled: bibliometric Study for intellectual medical heritage in the Arab homeland. He aimed to study intellectual medical heritage that published by Arab researchers inside and outside Arab homeland. In the year 1996, Hani Bastaji has used bibliometric study to analyse “Saudi Scientific journals in the field of medicine”. In the year 2002 Sana Al-muqadd aimed in her study entitled: Benefit Patterns of an intellectual heritage in the field of medicine” to identify the benefit of an intellectual heritage in the field of tumours medicine. In the year 2007 Saleh Al-zeheimi has done a study on (characteristics of Oman intellectual heritage in the area of medical science).

     Through tracing the tools that used by the researchers in the above previous mentioned studies, is clear to the researcher, that these studies and other were used manual methods to analyse Arab intellectual heritage, where some of these study ware tables used only, which is easier to calculate averages and other simple Processes.

     However, the study of Saleh Al-zeheimi (2007) is the first Arabic study that developed automated system for open source, and is built on the web based for taking out most of bibliometric measurements.

    The second part of the literature is an Arabic studies,that addressed applications for automated system in the area of bibliometric studies. However, most of these studies were foreign studies except the study of Sabah Kelow (2009) and study of Al-Najjar (2007) who addressed the automated foreign programs such as scopus and JCR, and did not highlight  an open source Arab system for, which was built and developed by Saleh in (2007), through his study of Omani intellectual heritage  in the medical field.

    Saleh Al-zeheimi has indicated in (2008) to his system and its characteristics in his paper  presented at the conference of specialized libraries, branch of the Arab Gulf in Kuwait in the year (2008)

    In view of the above, could be summarized the current findings of the study through drawn the previous studies in the following:

-       Most of the literature in this study used manual methods in an Arab intellectual heritage study, due to the weakness of potential automated system that is developed, such as Scopus and JCR in supporting Arab publications and analysing its characteristics, as well as lack of Arab intellectual heritage in an electronic database, and the rules of world information, compared to foreign intellectual heritage.

-       Currently there is no any Arabic open source software that builds in web based, except the system for Systematic Analysis for Arabic Citation Index (SAACI) which has been developed by Saleh Al-zeheimi, and used it in his study of the Omani intellectual medical heritage.

    Thus, the current study will  address in detail the Systematic Analysis for Arabic Citation Index (SAACI) and its appropriateness in massive using by specialists in this area, and its  extent compatible with the requirements of the Arab intellectual heritage


The study adopts an analytical method, to study the characteristics of system for Arab in the area of bibliometric studies, as well as the study address the world foreign system, such as Scopus and JCR, in another to take advantage for measurements, reports and statistics that will present, finally, the study highlighted an Arabic open source system (systematic Analysis for Arabic citation index - SAAIC).


Systematic analysis tools:

The diffusion of systematic analysis tools or application increase rapidly nowadays. The most popular of these tools are Scopus, Journal of Citation Report (JCR) and Google scholar.

  Journal Citation Report (JCR):

Journal Citation Reports offers a systematic, objective means to critically evaluate the world's leading journals, with quantifiable, statistical information based on citation data. By compiling articles' cited references, JCR helps to measure research influence and impact at the journal and category levels, and shows the relationship between citing and cited journals. Available in Science and Social Sciences editions ( JCR provides some bibliometrics features such as Impact Factor, Immediacy Index, Total Cites, Total Articles, Cited Half-Life, or Journal Title.


Scopus is a bibliographic database containing abstracts and citations for academic journal articles. It covers nearly 21,000 titles from over 5,000 publishers, of which 20,000 are peer-reviewed journals in the scientific, technical, medical, and social sciences (including arts and humanities). It is owned by Elsevier and is available online by subscription. Searches in Scopus incorporate searches of scientific web pages through Scirus, another Elsevier product, as well as patent databases.

Since Elsevier is the owner of Scopus and is also one of the main international publishers of scientific journals, an independent and international Scopus Content Selection and Advisory Board was established to prevent a potential conflict of interest in the choice of journals to be included in the database and to maintain an open and transparent content coverage policy, regardless of publisher. The board consists of scientists and subject librarians.


Arabic studies about systematic analysis tools:

There are many Arabic studies use systematic analysis tools (Scopus, JCR and Google Scholar) to analysis their literature. However, researchers use these tools for English publication, but when they want to analysis any Arabic publication, they usually use manually and less of them use excel or access software. The main reason for that because of unavailability of bibliometrics analysis tools support Arabic publication. This forward causes some weaknesses in Arabic literature in different phases as following:

-       Weaknesses of quantitative studies that address the characteristics of the Arabic publication compared to studies that deal with foreign.

-       Citations from books, dissertation & theses, patents and technical reports are poorly covered.

-       Science subject is poorly covered.

-       Weaknesses of quantitative studies that address the characteristics of the Arab intellectual output compared to studies that deal with foreign publication.

-       Limitation in analysis. Most Arabic study analysis bibliographic data, but they ignore a reference citation.

-       Weaknesses of comprehensive studies which implement the main bibliometrics elements because researchers find difficult to apply some bibliometrics laws without software.

Thus, this study comes to explore the existing tools which may provide a solution for the weaknesses.

Arabic initiatives in development citation engine/tools for Arabic publication

Bibliometric / systematic / webmetrics  tools like Scopus or Google Scholar aim to provide reports based on the three most commonly used laws in bibliometrics: Lotka's law of scientific productivity, Bradford's law of scatter, and Zipf's law of word occurrence.

Such report like No of papers, citations, average No. of citations per paper and per author and per year as well as h-indexs, g-index, and some more metrics have provided by these tools. Most researchers who study the literature which has written in English use a software to get bibliometrics reports.

One the other hand, the study explores studies that analysed the literature which have been written in Arabic. It found that most studies analysed the data manually to get biblimetrics reports. For example, Temars (1991) studied the citation in an engineering subject in Saudi Arabia. He used the traditional tools to calculate the citation. In the library field, most researchers used excel sheet to get reports and graphs (Qandeel, 1994; Rabee, Mahgoob, 2002; Khalifa, 2003; Zaid, 2003; Haifa, 2004).

Based On these findings, the current study will analyse only an Arabic system analysis, the systematic analysis for Arabic citation index (SAACI), and after that it will be evaluated in terms of possibility of its further development,with what the researchers required, and the characteristics of Arabic intellectual heritage, also with the latest laws for bibliometric.


The idea of thesoftware

Theidea of the design open source software based on MySQL and PHP came during thestudy of Saleh Al-zeheimi  (2007) forOman intellectual heritage, in the field of Medical Sciences, where theresearcher found most of  Arabic studiesusing traditional methods for analysis.


Thegreat potential of  PHP language as itsopen source in reports design, it’s possible to be flexible and potential fordata and retrieval articles or citations, through the design of searching, orpotential to search by more than field at the same time, in view of therequirement of bibliometric from automated expert system, that focus on extractstatistical indicators which has scientific indicators, and based on thebibliography requirement and citation references, an idea of design SystematicAnalysis for Arabic Citation Index has come SAACI (Al-zeheimi, 2007-2008).


Advantages of theSoftware

Thecurrent study experienced Systematic Analysis for Arabic Citation Index hascome SAACI  to identify the features and technicaladvantages, the study analyzed an available elements in the system and come outwith the following:

1-  opensource software OSS, the Program allows source files modification anddevelopment, and open for developers to participate in the solution of theproblems of the development program

2-  Theability to analyse the various types of materials such as periodicals,articles, books, University thesis and manuscripts.

3-  Easeof use: one of the advantages of the program is easy to move between userinterfaces and screen, through the presence of hyperlinking elements such asmain screen or articles, research or statistics and other.

4-  Workingin a networked environment: the program is working through the Internet, orthrough a network with local area. 

5-  MultipleEntry: where the design has several levels for accessing the programs and todeal with it, there is the power for the director, which enables him to dealwith all the functions of the program, also there is the power to theSupervisor, which entitles him to know some of the statistics and accessingreports and so on.

Fig. 1 Main screen of the Program

6-Linking the tables: the program has automated features that link tables, whichmakes it easy for the researcher to process data entry, for example after dataentry for particular article, the program provides hyperlink to enter citationsreference which  contained in the articleon the same screen.

7- Easyto search in articles: it is possible to use the program for searching articlesin all fields, or for researching in citation also, the program is providingmethod of linkage between fields, which is possibility to specify a researchprocess in order accurate results.

8- Automaticconstruction of the lists of authors or publishers, through an appropriateFields, this advantage provides effort, time and accuracy for researcher in hisprocess of entering data, that are related to authors or publishers or topicsalso it is easy, by clicking on the name or topic that appears automatically inthe lists of this side, therefore, the Program will show the user in theprocess of entering authors citations reference of the article if the authorhad named in articles,means has an article that had been entered  earlier in the program, in the sense that theprogram is working to provide lists of the authors, topics and publishers.

9-Auto Update statistics: when entering data for new article for an author orpublisher or topic or other, the system will automatically updates all thestatistics that have been identified in the program, upon completion of theprocess of entering new article, for example: when entering a particular articleunder specific  periodical year, theprogram automatically adds an additional number to the total articles entered,and adds an additional number to the total articles published based on theyears, and adds an additional number to the total periodical articles and soon, which means that the researcher is only for him to enter data or article orcitations at once, and get comprehensive statistical data.

Fig.2 General statistics

10-Preparing the reports automatically: Reports that the program builds aredivided automatically into two sections: the first section focus on analysis ofarticles, while the second section focus on analysis of citations.


Fig. 3 Citation Reports


The result of the study indicated that the Systematic Analysis for Arabic Citation Index (SAACI) is the first Arabic open source software in the area of analyzing citation.

References, which written in Arabic language, as the study comes out with an advantage of the system which is easy to use and develop, due to being an open source, and is suitable to all types of Arabic studies that focus on analysis of citations reference, the program also analyzing most of the bibliometric measurements.


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