Objective: This study updates a 2009 study which examined uniform resource locator (URL) decay in health care management journals and seeks to determine whether continued URL availability relates to publication date, resource type, or top-level domain. The authors also provide an analysis of differences in findings between the two study periods.
Methods: The authors collected the URLs of web-based resources cited in articles published in five health care management source journals from 2016 to 2018. The URLs were checked to see if they were still active and then analyzed to determine if continued availability was related to publication date, resource type, or top-level domain.
Results: There were statistically significant differences in URL availability across publication date, resource type, and top-level domain. Domains with the highest rate of decay were .com and .net and the lowest rate were .edu and .gov. As expected, the older the citation, the higher the rate of decay. The overall rate of URL decay decreased from 49.3% to 36.1% between studies.
Conclusion: URL decay in health care management journals has decreased in the last 15 years. Still, URL decay does continue to be a problem. Interestingly, health services policy research journals had a lower rate of decay than practitioner-oriented journals (34.8% vs. 51.7%). Authors, publishers, and librarians should continue to promote the use of digital object identifiers and web archiving and perhaps study and replicate efforts used by health services policy research journals to increase continued URL availability rates.