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eTBLAST is a now-defunct free text similarity service search engine which offered access to the MEDLINE database, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) CRISP database, the Institute of Physics (IOP) database, Wikipedia, arXiv, the NASA technical reports database, Virginia Tech class descriptions and a variety of databases of clinical interest. It is continuously expanding with additional text-based databases. eTBLAST searched citation databases and databases containing full text, such as PUBMED. The eTBLAST server compared a user's natural text query to target databases using a hybrid search algorithm consisting of a low-sensitivity weighted keyword-based first pass followed by a novel sentence-alignment based second pass. eTBLAST was a web-based service of The Innovation Laboratory at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute.
eTBLAST, as a text similarity engine, made possible a large study of duplicate publications and potential plagiarisms in the biomedical literature. Thousands of random samples of Medline abstracts were submitted to eTBLAST, and those with the highest similarity were studied and entered into an on-line database. This work revealed several trends, including an increasing rate of duplication in the biomedical literature, as reported in the journals Bioinformatics, Anaesthesia and Intensive Care, Clinical Chemistry, Urologic Oncology, Nature, and Science.
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