OpenCitations is seeking applicants for a one-year Research Fellow position to be held from April 2023, for which the application closing deadline is 28 February 2023.
Currently, the amount and complexity of the data made available by OpenCitations opens up several issues related to the improvement, scalability and optimisation of its infrastructure. Therefore, it is crucial to study and customise recent approaches for managing Big Data to create a knowledge base to build decentralised, scalable, long-lasting and easily-customizable services.
The goal of the Research Fellowship is
to study the current limitations and possible improvements to introduce in the OpenCitations infrastructure
to reengineer the current infrastructure to make it more scalable, reliable, interoperable, reusable and distributed.
Thus, the Research Fellow is expected to address issues related to the provision of Web services, the management of distributed and heterogeneous databases and services, data conversion and ingestion processes, parallel computing and security. Particular attention will be given to data preservation and the long-term maintenance and update of the infrastructure.
The minimal formal requirement for this position is a Master’s degree in Computer Science, Computer Science and Engineering, Telecommunications Engineering, Digital Humanities or equivalent.
Moreover, applicants are expected to have
computer programming skills
the ability to read, write and speak in good English
It is highly desirable for the applicants to have
demonstrable expertise in using and managing Linux servers (especially Debian and Raspbian), container orchestrator systems (e.g. Kubernetes), infrastructure-as-code systems (e.g. Terraform), Web servers implementing FastGCI (especially lighttpd), graph databases (especially Blazegraph), Python programming and Python Web Application Frameworks (especially web.py and Flask), Git-based version-control systems (especially GitHub);
a strong and demonstrable commitment to open science
demonstrable knowledge of Semantic Web technologies, Linked Data and Web technologies
Teamwork abilities and a good knowledge of Italian would also be very beneficial.
How to apply
The Research Fellowship application (written either in Italian or in English) should minimally comprise the following:
a cover letter of application, motivating why the candidate is applying for this position;
a full Curriculum Vitae containing information about prior scientific and professional jobs and the scientific production of the candidate;
a public portfolio of software, projects and activities undertaken within the past ten years, with a clear indication of the applicant’s role in each.
The Call for Applications (in Italian and in English) is available online on the website of the University of Bologna. It also includes an attachment with a description of OpenCitations and of the activities related to the position. The position has a net salary (exempt from income tax, after deduction of social security contributions) in excess of 23K euros per year. As indicated in the Call for Applications, candidates need to apply exclusively through the University of Bologna web portal.
This blog post is the first of a series dedicated to the description and promotion of OpenCitations Meta.
In addition to OpenCitations’ Citation Indexes, OpenCitations is pleased to announce a new service: OpenCitations Meta, a database which stores and delivers bibliographic metadata for all publications involved in the OpenCitations citation indexes.
For each publication, the metadata exposed by OpenCitations Meta includes the publication’s title, type, venue (e.g. journal name), volume number, issue number, page numbers, publication date, and identifiers such as Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) and PubMed Identifiers (PMIDs). In addition, OpenCitations Meta includes details of the main actors involved in the publication of the document, i.e., the names of the authors, editor, and publisher, each with its own additional metadata and identifier (e.g. ORCID).
Why OpenCitations Meta?
OpenCitations Meta represents a major infrastructural advance for OpenCitations, since it addresses and overcomes some of the limitations previously experienced, providing three major benefits:
1. It permits OpenCitations to respond more quickly to user requests for information.
The OpenCitations Citation Indexes contain citation-related metadata, such as the identifiers for the citing and cited publications, the citation timespan, and other citation-specific metadata, for example whether or not the citation is a self-citation. However, metadata for the citing and cited publications were hitherto not stored by OpenCitations, but rather obtained by on-the-fly API calls to external services such as Crossref, Datacite and ORCID. This dependence on responses from external services significantly slowed the delivery of the required information to users. Since OpenCitations Meta stores in-house the same bibliographic metadata for the citing and cited publications as was previously obtained by those external API calls, the former temporal limitation is now alleviated, thereby accelerating response times for requests made to the OpenCitations REST API services, and thus better supporting our users.
2. It permits OpenCitations to index citations involving publications that lack DOIs.
The second problem that OpenCitations Meta addresses goes beyond the OpenCitations infrastructure and addresses a more general issue of digital publishing, particularly in the Humanities, namely that many scholarly publications lack persistent identifiers such as DOIs and PMIDs. The citations indexed by OpenCitations are themselves treated as first-class data entities, each bearing a unique persistent Open Citation Identifier. According to the Open Citation Identifier definition , the entities linked by an indexed citation need to be identified by a persistent identifier (PID) from a recognised scheme such as the Digital Object Identifier scheme. For example, COCI  records the DOIs of the citing and cited entities. However, the association of DOIs with published documents is not uniformly spread across all scholarly fields. Indeed, in Scopus and the Web of Science Core Collection, only 50% of the current publications in the Art and Humanities are associated with a DOI . In addition, in many fields, particularly in the Humanities, references are required to pre-digital historical primary sources that lack PIDs. OpenCitations Meta solves this problem by assigning a unique OpenCitations Meta Identifier (OMID) to each document. In this way, it can record the metadata of publications lacking an external identifier and store the citations involving them in one of the OpenCitations Indexes.
3. Use of the OpenCitations Meta Identifier permits de-duplication of records of bibliographic resources having more than one external identifier, such as a DOI and a PMID.
While many scholarly publications lack external PIDs, many others will have more than one external PID, for example a DOI for the record of that publication in Crossref, and a PMID for the record of that same publication in PubMed. This is perfectly legitimate. Since OpenCitations Meta assigns a unique OpenCitations Meta Identifier (OMID) to every entry, and in addition records all external identifiers already assigned to that publication, for example its DOI and its PMID, this permits the automatic de-duplication of such publications within OpenCitations Meta.
The data model
OpenCitations uses Semantic Web technologies to encode all its data, including the bibliographic metadata now stored in OpenCitations Meta. For this purpose, the OpenCitations Data Model (OCDM)  uses classes and properties defined in the SPAR Ontologies to represent:
bibliographic entities (fabio:Expression), e.g. a journal article
identifiers (datacite:Identifier), e.g. a DOI
agent roles (pro:RoleInTime), e.g. an author
responsible agents (foaf:Agent), e.g. a person
publication format details (fabio:Manifestation), e.g. first and last pages
Figure 1 depicts relationships between some of the various entities.
In addition to storing data, great importance is given to recording provenance and change-tracking of OpenCitations Meta entries, including the agent who processed a specific entity, i.e. creating, deleting, modifying or merging it, the date and time on which this action was performed, and the primary source of the data.
At the release date, 20th December 2022, OpenCitations Meta is using Crossref as its primary source, with the purpose of hosting the metadata describing all citing and cited publications involved in the 1,392,036,835 citations within COCI . From a quantitative point of view, OpenCitations Meta presently contains metadata describing 87,321,593 bibliographic entities, 277,750,235 authors, 2,359,301 editors, 17,268 publishers, and 710,226 publication venues (e.g. journal names). Editors and authors have been counted by their roles, without at this stage disambiguating individuals with the same name. Conversely, bibliographic entities, publishers, and publication venues were counted by their OMIDs. In total, the OpenCitations Meta triplestore presently contains 3,298,335,581 triples.
In the following days, OpenCitations Meta will be expanded to include bibliographic metadata for all citing and cited publications involved in the 169,822,752 citations from DataCite within DOCI, released on 13th December 2022.
Table 1 lists the various types of bibliographic resource represented in OpenCitations Meta. The current dataset contains mostly journal articles (60,683,841), which exceed the number of book chapters (6,288,351) by about ten times and the number of conference proceedings articles (4,917,568) by about twelve times.
OpenCitations Meta allows the users to explore the contained metadata either via SPARQL (https://opencitations.net/meta/sparql) or via the OpenCitations Meta REST API (https://opencitations.net/meta/api/v1). In particular, the API will retrieve a list of bibliographic resources and related metadata starting from one or more identifiers including an OpenCitations Meta Identifier (OMID), an author’s ORCID, or an editor’s ORCID.
Finally, all the metadata and provenance information present in OpenCitations Meta are available as dumps in RDF (JSON-LD) or CSV format under a CC0 licence. Every time a citation index is updated, we will update OpenCitations Meta.
OpenCitations Meta makes search operations on the metadata of scholarly publications involved in the citations indexed in the OpenCitations Citation Indexes faster, since the metadata are now held in-house. The use of OpenCitations Meta Identifiers (OMIDs) permits OpenCitations Meta to act as a mapping hub to disambiguate and unify information on single publications identified by more than one external identifier, and makes it possible to characterise citations involving resources lacking an external identifier.
In the future, we will introduce a new API operation to perform text searches. Moreover, OpenCitations Meta will incorporate metadata from other sources in addition to Crossref. As mentioned above, work is already under way to ingest bibliographic metadata from Datacite for the publications involved in the citations newly indexed in DOCI. This will soon be followed with similar OpenCitations Meta entries relating to a new citation index, POCI, containing citations from PubMed, to be released later this year. PubMed metadata will be made available by February 2023.
Gorraiz, J., Melero-Fuentes, D., Gumpenberger, C., & Valderrama-Zurián, J.-C. (2016). Availability of digital object identifiers (DOIs) in Web of Science and Scopus. Journal of Informetrics, 10 (1), 98–10. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.joi.2015.11.008
We’re happy to announce the 3rd edition of the Workshop on Open Citations and Open Scholarly Metadata (WOOC2022), to be held online on 5 October 2022 (h. 15-18 CEST).
It has now been two years since the last edition of the Workshop on Open Citations and Open Scholarly Metadata (WOOC2020) took place as an online event. During that event, the virtual format did not constrain an enriching and stimulating debate, fostered by the distinguished voices of the speakers involved.
In the past two years, the Open Science ecosystem has been enriched by growing infrastructures, new projects, and the increasing availability of open scholarly data. OpenCitations itself is now hosting over 1.36 billion open citations. We would like WOOC2022 to re-create a theme-focused virtual space to share updates, thresholds and challenges. Like the last event, WOOC2022 will take the form of a three-hour webinar for researchers, scholarly publishers, funders, policy makers, and opening citations advocates, interested in the creation, reuse, and improvement, of open citation data and open scholarly metadata, with speaker contributions followed by Q&A sessions. The workshop is organized around the following topics:
Reforming research assessment with open citations and open scholarly metadata;
Artificial intelligence to support the extraction and analysis of citations and metadata;
Sustainability of open science infrastructures;
Availability of open citations and open scholarly metadata in scholarly disciplines.
The participation is free of charge and requires no registration. The event will be live-streamed on OpenCitations YouTube channel and it will be possible to interact with the speakers through the YouTube live comments section during the streaming.
During the Workshop on Open Citations and Open Scholarly Metadata, the talks of the distinguished speakers will be divided into four sessions, with one 5-minute break. At the beginning of the Workshop, OpenCitations director Silvio Peroni will acknowledge the selected author’s video contributions, whose links will be made available on the workshop website for engaging with interested parties and encouraging a broader discussion.
15:10 – 15.30 Victoria Moody: Lift, shift and re-use: Repurposing open access in new ways: The possibility (and probable necessity) of ensuring the capability and sustainability of research infrastructure assets through the enhanced deployment of open science approaches, creating new pathways for established approaches and extending their impact.
15:30- 15:50 Alberto Martín-Martín: Managing the scholarly record
Posted on August 10th 2022 by Chiara Di Giambattista
More than a year ago, Ginny Hendricks, Director of Member & Community Outreach for Crossref, and a valued member of the OpenCitations International Advisory Board, published on the Crossref blog the post “The road ahead: our strategy through 2025”. In order to describe all Crossref’s principles and activities, Ginny presented the Crossref strategic planning framework as a diagram summarizing Crossref’s statements, key messages and truths. The clarity and immediacy of the diagram were such that we adapted it to present OpenCitations’ own statements and goals. The resulting poster “OpenCitations – what does the future hold?” was presented by our Director David Shotton at the OASPA2021 conference, and can be found in this blog post.
Although the poster offered a wide overview of OpenCitations values, unique traits, benefits and plans, it differed slightly from Ginny’s original diagram, in particular because it lacked a “Mission Statement”, scattering the relevant information within the “Values” and “Principles” boxes. Indeed, at that time (September 2021), we didn’t have a clearly defined Mission Statement.
Nevertheless, the creation of that poster was crucial in helping us start to articulate more clearly the purpose and meaning of OpenCitations. As David underlined in his post “From little acorns…a retrospective on OpenCitations”, since 2018 OpenCitations activities have progressively increased and, with them, the number of related journal articles, conference papers and technical definitions. OpenCitations’ involvement in international networks and collaborations (such as SCOSS and the OpenAIRE-Nexus project), together with our need of identifying and reaching out to new stakeholders to assure OpenCitations’ development and sustainability, has made it necessary to publicly define OpenCitations’ mission, unique strengths and next developmental steps.
which together provide a summary of why we exist and where we are heading.
We are particularly proud of the definition of OpenCitations’ primary mission, namely
“to harvest and openly publish accurate and comprehensive metadata describing the world’s academic publications and the scholarly citations that link them, and to preserve ongoing access to this information by secure archiving.”
The Mission Statement also presents brief descriptions of the OpenCitations context, our vision, our value proposition and our relationship with the community and stakeholders.
The Uniqueness of OpenCitations provides the answer to the question ‘Why choose to use OpenCitations?’, and is a detailed presentation of OpenCitations’ benefits.
OpenCitations – Present Status and Future Plans summarizes OpenCitations’ ongoing activities, that can be quickly visualized on our public roadmap. It also introduces the OpenCitations Working Groups, served by the members of the OpenCitations International Advisory Board, which are currently working on the themes of governance evolution and community building, with the common purpose of driving OpenCitations along the path from being a ‘sustainable infrastructure’ (in POSI terms) to being an enduring community led andfinancially sustained infrastructure.
In fulfilling our mission and reaching our goals, the support and vital interest of our community members is fundamental. We request that you, as a member of our community, provide us with feedback on these documents and the ideas they contain, or indeed to ask for clarifications, to help us improving our mission and our communications to explain it. You can reach us here: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cite this article as: Chiara Di Giambattista, "New documents that present OpenCitations’ mission, unique benefits, present status and future plans," in OpenCitations blog, 10/08/2022, https://opencitations.hypotheses.org/2498.
In March, The Global Sustainability Coalition for Open Science Services (SCOSS) celebrated, together with the generous funders and the projects involved (including OpenCitations), the achievement of an amazing milestone: a total of 4 million Euros raised so far for supporting the growth and development of Open Science Infrastructures. This significant sum is not just a number, but a concrete sign of the commitment of numerous institutions all over the world to ensure the success of vital organs of the Open Science ecosystem. Thanks to the pledges recently made, the new infrastructures selected for the third SCOSS pledging round have now started developing their services and can now look to the future with more surety.
At the end of 2019, OpenCitations was selected by SCOSS for its second pledging round, and since then much progress has been made. As the OpenCitations’ founder and director David Shotton recently stated:
“OpenCitations is growing, thanks to the generous support from our members and donors, and we thank SCOSS sincerely for bringing us into contact with them. The citation coverage provided by OpenCitations is now approaching parity with that of the leading commercial citation indexes, and our ambition, within the next five years, is for OpenCitations to be routinely used by our worldwide stakeholders as their primary source of comprehensive scholarly citation information”.
In 2020, OpenCitations monitored the achievements of the first year of SCOSS support and shared the most important updates in a blog post. After a review from SCOSS Advisory Group and the SCOSS Board, the OpenCitations 2021 report to SCOSS is now available in the SCOSS May newsletter. We’re proud of the successful developments that 2021 brought with it in many areas, from the technical enhancements to OpenCitations to its new supporters and partnerships.
After a two-year-long collaboration, we in OpenCitations recognise that one of the most precious benefits of being part of SCOSS is working within a community: SCOSS not only provides a framework but also a real family of supportive institutions that support the Infrastructures during their growth and provide a safety net if troubles occur along the path. The bi-monthly meetings organized by the SCOSS team enable dialogue with the other infrastructures within the same pledging round, while presentation and promotion to the institutions worldwide are fostered by participation in webinars and conferences. During 2021, OpenCitations participated in 16 events, and in 5 of them (LIBER Webinar 2021, JISC Webinar 2021, LIBER Annual Conference 2021, Open Science Fair 2021, and Open Access Tage 2021) OpenCitations’ director Silvio Peroni gave talks together with the representatives of others infrastructures involved in the SCOSS second pledging round.
In compliance with the POSI principles, SCOSS encouraged OpenCitations to set up an open governance structure. As described here, the organizational bodies included in the OpenCitations present governance are three: the Directors, the International Advisory Board, and the Council. Although executive power is still currently vested in the hands of the Directors, in the last two years the OpenCitations International Advisory Board, a committee that now comprises nine Open Science experts from different professional and academic backgrounds, has had a crucial role in guiding the OpenCitations activities, and it is now working on strategic developments in terms of collaborations, policies, support and governance. Moreover, last December OpenCitations organized a Webinar in conjunction with its Annual Meeting to present and discuss with the OpenCitations Council members OpenCitations’ recent developments and future plans.
OpenCitations is highly reliant upon the connections we have created and on people working together: thanks to the support we received throughout the last two years, the OpenCitations team has grown and now includes six people employed by the Research Centre for Open Scholarly Metadata at the University of Bologna, the administrative body for OpenCitations. Besides the previously announced appointments of Claudio Fabbri (Research Manager), Chiara Di Giambattista (Communications Director and Community Development Manager), Giuseppe Grieco (Software and Systems Developer), and Arcangelo Massari (Software Developer, working within the OpenAIRE-Nexus project), early in 2022 Ivan Heibi, Ph.D. candidate at the University of Bologna, joined OpenCitations with responsibility for the technical infrastructure, and Arianna Moretti, who recently graduated in Digital Humanities and Digital Knowledge, joined as a software developer. This enlarged team, involving young and motivated researchers, is working on numerous projects to be announced later in 2022. You can learn more about OpenCitations’ ongoing activities on our public roadmap.
OpenCitations’ aim continues to be the publication of open data describing the bibliographic citations linking global scholarly publications, with depth and scope, while maintaining the highest standards of accuracy and provenance. Most importantly, OpenCitations services will always be free, making global scholarly citation data available at zero cost and without restriction for third party analysis and re-use.
With its support, SCOSS has been helping OpenCitations to pursue its mission and spread the benefits of Open Science. However, 2022 will be the last year of the three-year-long support ensured by SCOSS. OpenCitations activities won’t stop in 2023 — indeed there still are many long-planned activities that we hope to initiate in the near future, given sufficient resources. This is why OpenCitations requires ongoing support from the scholarly community. All the information you may require to start helping us financially is available on the OpenCitations website: https://opencitations.net/membership
By supporting OpenCitations, you will embrace and sustain the ideals and vision of Open Science, and you will help in creating a more open, democratic and fair knowledge environment.
The incentives for new OpenCitations innovative solutions
Two years ago, in their canonical 2020 QSS paper on OpenCitations, Silvio Peroni and David Shotton anticipated the creation of the new database, OpenCitations Meta, able to “offer a faster and richer service” by storing bibliographic metadata “in house”. Meta would “avoid duplication of data by efficiently permitting us to keep […] a single copy of the metadata for each of the bibliographic entities involved as citing or cited entities in the different OpenCitations’ citation indexes”, would remove the requirement for potentially slow API calls to external metadata sources such as Crossref and ORCID, and would enable us to index citations involving entities lacking DOIs.
Important synergies to achieve goals
Today, thanks to the recent involvement of OpenCitations in two EC-funded projects, the OpenAIRE-Nexus Project (Horizon 2020 EU funded project, GA: 101017452) and the RISIS2 Project (Horizon 2020 EU funded project, GA: 824091), the development of OpenCitations Meta has commenced, with a planned release date later in 2022.
The OpenAIRE-Nexus project started in January 2021 to embrace and expand the operation of a portfolio of thirteen services, provided by OpenAIRE infrastructure, public institutions, organisations and universities, classified into three portfolios entitled PUBLISH, MONITOR, and DISCOVER. The OpenAIRE-Nexus portfolios focus on the demands of the three main categories of the research lifecycle. Therefore, OpenAIRE-Nexus makes sure such services are integrated to provide a uniform Open Science Scholarly Communication package for the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC). Within the OpenAIRE Nexus project there is scope for producing not only support materials (factsheet, guides, video tutorials, demos) but also training sessions where the services in the three portfolios will be showcased, anticipating the EOSC onboarding process. The role of OpenCitations in the project is to provide open bibliographic citations, and interconnect and integrate (and vice versa) functionalities with the OpenAIRE Research Graph and more OpenAIRE-Nexus services such as EpiSciences, OpenAIRE MONITOR) the core component of OpenAIRE infrastructure and services and of the EOSC Resource Catalogue.
Additionally, we are happy to announce our recent involvement in the RISIS2 Project. The Research Infrastructure for Science and Innovation Policy Studies (RISIS) is a project funded by the European Union under a Horizon2020 Research and Innovation Programme. RISIS2 involves 18 partners working together to create and maintain a research infrastructure for the field of Science, Technology, and Industry (STI) Studies, and to build an advanced research community in this field. OpenCitations’ contributions to RISIS2 will include not only the creation of OpenCitations Meta but also the development of a new citation index of open references, the OpenCitations Index of DataCite Open Citations (DOCI), which will be based on the open reference holdings of DataCite and, together with COCI, will be cross-searchable through our unified OpenCitations API.
Lessons learnt so far
A year into the OpenAIRE-Nexus project, we have found that one of the most significant benefits for OpenCitations is our involvement with this wide cooperative network of European research infrastructures, services, and communities, within which we can exchange experiences, ideas, and knowledge, and discuss any challenges and outcomes with our colleagues. More importantly, OpenCitations becomes positioned within the Open Science ecosystem, as a valuable innovative infrastructure with strong proof of integration and interoperable operations. Being part of the OpenAIRE-Nexus team has opened up more future challenges and expectations, and raised the bar for the inclusion of more functionalities of value. Thanks to the dedication of its efficient communication team, OpenAIRE is also helping us by communicating OpenCitations services to additional users and stakeholders, by inclusion within the comprehensive OpenAIRE services catalogue, by releasing an OpenCitations factsheet and by permitting us to present the latest information on OpenCitations through established events (i.e. Open Science FAIR 2022). FAIR and openness of information is our motto, and we strongly promote this through all our activities.
Expanding our team
As announced in our previous blog post “Five reasons why 2021 has been a great year for OpenCitations”, the support we receive from the EU as part of OpenAIRE-Nexus has enabled our recent appointment of Arcangelo Massari, a software developer who is now playing a crucial role in the creation and development of OpenCitations Meta.
As the year 2022 progresses, we look forward to bringing you further information about other new goals for OpenCitations, made possible by the support we receive from our numerous partnerships.
2021 is just behind us. Since January is “the Monday of the months”, as F. Scott Fitzgerald once wrote, it’s a good time to take stock of what happened at OpenCitations during the past year.
Among the numerous events, achievements and challenges that 2021 brought with it, we want to highlight five milestones which make us proud to look back:
1. We extended our coverage to well over one billion citations
During 2021, OpenCitations’ largest index COCI (the OpenCitations Index of Crossref open DOI-to-DOI citations) was able to include for the first time the citation links involving references that had been opened at Crossref by Elsevier and the American Chemical Society, thereby greatly expanding its coverage. The last release of COCI (November 2021) is based on open references to works with DOIs within the Crossref dump dated October 2021, and, as a result, COCI now contains information on more than 1.23 billion citations involving almost 70 million publications. A recent analysis by Alberto Martìn-Martìn (Facultad de Comunicación y Documentación, Universidad de Granada, Spain), published on the OpenCitations Blog in October, shows that the citation coverage provided by OpenCitations is approaching parity with that of the leading commercial citation indexes, Web of Science and Scopus, offering a viable alternative upon which to base open and reproducible metrics of academic performance.
2. OpenCitations team grew
Last summer, we appointed Claudio Fabbri as our Administrator and Research Manager to take responsibility for the day-to-day administrative and financial activities of OpenCitations; Chiara Di Giambattista as Communications Director and Community Development Manager to take care of all communications and community interactions made on behalf of OpenCitations; and Giuseppe Grieco as our new Software and Systems Developer to take charge of technical development related to the OpenCitations services.
Thanks to the support from the OpenAIRE Nexus project, the team has also recently welcomed Arcangelo Massari as our new Software Developer to take care of the development of the new database OpenCitations Meta. We anticipate further appointments during 2022!
Our International Advisory Board met in November, and we thank its members for the valuable advice they provided. The Board will meet again later this month.
3. We participated in many international meetings
During the past year, OpenCitations’ directors Silvio Peroni and David Shotton took part in numerous international conferences, webinars and workshops, including the LIBER Annual Conference 2021, the OS Fair 2021, OASPA 2021 and FORCE2021. These provided excellent opportunities to describe and promote OpenCitations, to reach out to new potential stakeholders, and to discuss with other experts the main themes of our activities and plans as they relate to Open Science.
In 2021, thanks to our involvement in the SCOSS funding campaign and to our commitment to reaching out to the libraries and universities potentially interested in OpenCitations, we gathereda wide international community of stakeholders and supporters around us. We are deeply thankful to the 6 consortia and 56 institutions across the globe which are now supporting us financially, thus making it possible for us to enhance our services and expand our team. You can find the full list of our supporters on the OpenCitations website and in this recent Thank You video:
Additionally, in January 2021, we started our involvement in the EC-funded OpenAIRE Nexus project, bringing us into closer collaboration with our European colleagues and infrastructures, including OpenAIRE. The main aim of the project is to create a framework of services for assisting in publishing research, monitoring its impact, helping promote its discovery, and integrating it into the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) “for the benefit of the open science community worldwide”. In OpenCitations, we’re thrilled to be part of this collaborative project by providing open bibliographic citations as part of the open data components of OpenAIRE and the EOSC.
5. We set the stage for future developments
Thanks to the research grants and the support and endorsement we have received from the international scholarly community, we are now working on a variety of new services, thus setting our goals for the coming years. In particular, we want to enhance OpenCitations partnerships and dialogue with the scholarly community; to collaborate with colleagues to develop new services that will expand our citation coverage, including new OpenCitations indexes of NIH-OCC, of DataCite and of other sources of open references, that will all be searchable through a single API; and to create OpenCitations Meta, our new database that will hold comprehensive bibliographic metadata of the publications involved in our indexes citations, thereby enabling faster query responses and the ability to host citations involving publications lacking DOIs.
On September 27, OpenCitations’ director Silvio Peroni, together with Niels Stern (DOAB/OAPEN) and James MacGregor (PKP), held the online workshop “How Open Infrastructure Benefits Libraries” during the Open Access Tage 2021. Open-Access-Tage (Open Access Days) are the annual central platform for the steadily growing Open Access and Open Science community from Germany, Austria and Switzerland, and are aimed at all those involved with the possibilities, conditions and perspectives of scientific publishing.
The workshop gathered three of the SCOSS-supported infrastructures to discuss how Open Infrastructures (OIs) could encourage the engagement of university libraries, and how they could be beneficial game-changing alternative to commercial infrastructures. This theme, which was also been presented during the last LIBER conference, was here discussed under a new perspective, by involving the specific case of the libraries from the German-speaking region. Their point of view particularly emerged during the second part of the workshop, during which the participants were divided into two breakout rooms to discuss two questions each. These are the answers and comments that emerged from the discussions.
1. What would prevent or encourage libraries in the German-speaking region to support open infrastructures?
The three main concepts held to be crucial in this field were transparency, promotion and governance.
Transparency: German libraries and public institutions often deal with strict funding limitations relating to donations. It is therefore crucial for OIs (a) to present in a clear way how libraries can get involved and the money needed, (b) to communicate what they do and how they can add value to libraries compared to other services, and (c) to clarify the direct return and benefits on investments. These points would make it easier to recommend OIs internally, especially when people from subject-specific institutions are interested in subject-independent OIs. Point (b) leads to the Promotion issue: Open Infrastructures should promote themselves non only on a global level, by communicating their impact in the open research movement as against non-transparent propitiatory services, but also at a local level, by providing information about the usage (and the value) of their services at an institutional and/or national level. This case-by-case narration (with attention to the specific benefits) would make it easier for the institutions to evaluate the sustainability of the investment. An incentive to donate is being actively involved in the community governance, i.e.through a board membership.
Nevertheless, is also necessary for libraries to “take courage” when investing in such OIs, and, when possible, to overcome administrative boundaries by forming consortia. Finally, of particular note was a desire to see locally-managed sub-communities that could speak specifically to the German (or whichever) language environment, much as ORCID arranges itself.
2. Community Governance. What kind of involvement do you want to see, how do you want to be involved?
Some common problems which prevent the institutions from being involved are (a) a general concern about the fact that negotiations with publishers are typically the main focus of OA discussions – leaving little time to focus on OIs and other open initiatives, and (b) a lack of time, or of guidelines, for evaluating the different infrastructures to invest in. This is why SCOSS was appreciated as an intermediary in the decision process, because of its own rigorous evaluation and selection mechanism. The community-funding approach proposed by SCOSS thus seems to be the preferred way by which to support OIs.
Regarding community governance, one idea could be to involve interested scholars in the governance of the open infrastructures (with the library acting as an interface between the open infrastructure and the scholars) rather than only involving library staff – although this idea was argued against in the second group, as researchers are often percieved as too busy to be functional in operational infrastructure groups. What also emerged from this second question is an interest in community involvement on different levels, for example as a community of practices or through discussion boards, mailing lists, periodic meet-ups, workshops, newsletters, etc. The community could also be articulated into local sub-communities, as in the successful case of ORCID and ORCID_DE.
Cite this article as: Chiara Di Giambattista, "Open Access Tage 2021: valuable insights from the libraries in the German-speaking region ," in OpenCitations blog, 07/10/2021, https://opencitations.hypotheses.org/1394.
Authors: Ludo Waltman, Bianca Kramer, David Shotton
In this blog post, Ludo Waltman, Bianca Kramer, and David Shotton, co-founders with colleagues of the Initiative for Open Abstracts, celebrate the first anniversary of the initiative.
On September 24 last year, the Initiative for Open Abstracts (I4OA) was launched. We started the initiative as a group of colleagues working in the publishing industry, for scholarly infrastructure organizations, at university libraries, and at science studies research centers. I4OA called on scholarly publishers to make the abstracts of their published works openly available in a suitable infrastructure, preferably by submitting them to Crossref, and it continues to make this call. Openness of abstracts makes scholarly outputs easier to discover, it enables new types of research analytics, and it supports science studies research.
In this blog post, we celebrate the first anniversary of I4OA by summarizing the progress made so far and by discussing how I4OA fits into the broader landscape of many ongoing developments toward increased openness of the metadata of scholarly outputs.
How much support for open abstracts do we have?
When I4OA was launched one year ago, the initiative was supported by 40 publishers, including Hindawi, Royal Society, and SAGE, who are founding members of the initiative. Among the initial supporters of I4OA there were commercial publishers (e.g., F1000, Frontiers, Hindawi, MDPI, PeerJ, and SAGE), non-profit publishers (e.g., eLife and PLOS), society publishers (e.g., AAAS and Royal Society), and university presses (e.g., Cambridge University Press and MIT Press). Some of the initial supporters of I4OA are open access publishers, while others publish subscription-based journals.
Over the past year, the number of publishers supporting I4OA has more than doubled. The initiative is currently supported by 86 publishers. Publishers that have joined I4OA over the past year include ACM, American Society for Microbiology, Emerald, Oxford University Press, and Thieme. I4OA has also been joined by a substantial number of national and regional publishers, for instance from countries in Latin America, Eastern Europe, and Asia.
In addition to this, I4OA is supported by a large number of stakeholders in the research system, including many scholarly infrastructure providers.
However, Elsevier, Springer Nature, Wiley, and Taylor & Francis, the four largest publishers in terms of the number of published works, have not yet joined I4OA. These publishers appear to monetize their abstracts by selling them to abstracting services, and they seem to fear that joining I4OA may cause them to lose these revenue streams. Elsevier might also perceive openness of abstracts as a competitive threat to its Scopus business. Elsevier, Wiley, and Taylor & Francis have not yet submitted any abstracts to Crossref, while Springer Nature has started to submit abstracts, but only for its open access content.
How many open abstracts do we have?
On September 1st 2021, 12.3% of the 89.4 million journal articles indexed by Crossref had an open abstract. Focusing on the so-called current content in Crossref (i.e., content from the last three years), the share of journal articles with an open abstract is substantially higher. Of the 12.1 million journal articles in the period 2019-2021, 30.1% had an open abstract.
Figure 1 shows the increase over the past few years in the percentage of journal articles in Crossref that have an open abstract. For current content, this percentage increased from 14.9% in September 2019 to 30.1% in September 2021, clearly showing the effect of I4OA. For backfiles (i.e., content that is at least three years old), the increase is more modest, from 4.8% in September 2019 to 9.5% in September 2021. This increase reflects the efforts made by several publishers (including Hindawi, Royal Society, and SAGE, three founding members of I4OA) to make abstracts openly available not only for their new content but also for all their older content.
The above statistics are specifically about journal articles. Looking at all content types in Crossref, including proceedings articles, book chapters, and books, the share of open abstracts is somewhat lower. On September 1 this year, 24.8% of the current content and 7.3% of the backfiles had an open abstract.
Figure 2 provides a breakdown by publisher of the percentage of journal articles published in the period 2019-2021 and documented in Crossref that have an open abstract (horizontal axis). The figure also shows the total number of journal articles of a publisher in the period 2019-2021 (vertical axis; logarithmic scale).
Publishers that support I4OA, colored orange in Figure 2, tend to have a high percentage of journal articles with an open abstract. They typically do not reach 100%, because some of the content they publish does not have an abstract. There are a few publishers that only recently started to open their abstracts, and so for these publishers the percentage of open abstracts is still relatively low. Publishers that have not yet expressed support for I4OA are colored blue in Figure 2. Most of them have a low percentage of open abstracts, and many do not have any open abstracts at all.
The progress made by individual publishers in opening their abstracts can be clearly seen by comparing Figure 2 with a similar figure published in this blog post last year.
What else happened over the past year?
A very positive development in the past year is the accomplishment of the Initiative for Open Citations (I4OC), a sister initiative of I4OA that campaigns for publishers to make the references of their published works openly available in Crossref. In the first half of 2021, Elsevier, American Chemical Society, and Wolters Kluwer all opened their references. With the exception of IEEE, all major publishers now support I4OC. This development seems to show that most publishers recognize the importance of making the metadata of their published works openly available, suggesting that many of them may also want to join I4OA.
A less positive development was the announcement made last May that Microsoft Academic will be discontinued at the end of the year. At the moment, Microsoft Academic is the most important data source for open abstracts. As shown in a recent presentation by two of the I4OA founders, more than half of the scholarly outputs indexed both by Microsoft Academic and by Crossref have an open abstract in Microsoft Academic. Only 10% of these outputs have an open abstract in Crossref. Hence, the discontinuation of Microsoft Academic will greatly reduce the availability of open abstracts, unless publishers take up their responsibility to submit abstracts to Crossref. OurResearch, which is building a replacement for Microsoft Academic, has already announced that it will only be able to make abstracts available if publishers submit them to Crossref (or PubMed).
Another important development is the growing adoption of the Principles of Open Scholarly Infrastructure (POSI). These principles aim to ensure that scholarly infrastructures serve the interests of the scholarly community, and they reduce the risk of the scholarly community losing its key infrastructures (as is happening right now with Microsoft Academic). The POSI principles have been adopted by Crossref and OpenCitations, two founding members of I4OA. OurResearch, mentioned above, has also expressed a commitment to these principles. By adopting the POSI principles, these infrastructure organizations have made a clear commitment to serve the interests of the scholarly community and to ensure the long-term availability of scholarly metadata.
In light of the closure of Microsoft Academic at the end of the year, it is more important than ever to get broad support for I4OA. This is further reinforced by the increasing dependence of research analytics on abstracts. While research analytics based on citations continue to play an important role in research assessments and research on research (e.g., topic mapping, analyzing emerging trends and research fronts), the need to broaden the analytical toolbox is widely recognized. Many providers of research analytics are introducing new indicators and tools. In particular, analytics for assessing the contribution of research to the UN sustainable development goals (SDGs) are attracting a lot of attention (e.g., in the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings). These analytics typically identify SDG-related research by searching for specific terms (‘climate change’, ‘hunger’, ‘poverty’, and so on) in the titles and abstracts of scholarly outputs. Openness of abstracts is essential to develop a proper understanding of what these analytics do and do not tell us, and to make sure these analytics are used in a responsible way.
Publishers carry the primary responsibility for making abstracts openly available. We therefore call on publishers that do not yet support I4OA to join the initiative and to open their abstracts. The I4OA team is available to answer questions about the initiative and to provide help to publishers that want to join. Do not hesitate to contact us.
We also encourage other stakeholders in the research system to actively support openness of abstracts. As shown in Figure 3, in a recent Metadata 20/20 webinar, participants mentioned abstracts as the most important metadata element for which openness should be an essential requirement in negotiations with publishers. This highlights the crucial contribution that research institutions and research funders can make by mandating openness of abstracts in their agreements with publishers.
This blog post is published under a CC BY 4.0 license.
Open Science Fair is an initiative of OpenAIRE, co-organized by the following key international initiatives in the area of Open Science: COAR, EIFL, Force11, LA Referencia, LIBER, OPERAS, Sparc and Sparc Europe. A biannual event, it brings together “perspectives from different actors” and “suggests ways in which communities can work together to produce roadmaps for the implementation of Open Science”. The 2021 online event saw the participation of distinguished speakers in keynote talks, roundtable discussions, workshops and training sessions. At OpenCitations, we are grateful and proud to have been invited to participate in this collaborative and inspiring virtual fair.
The Lightning Talk “ScholeXplorer and OpenCitations as the new frontier of open citation indexing” was a presentation by Silvio Peroni, co-authored with Paolo Manghi (OpenAire), Alessia Bardi (CNR-ISTI), and Sandro La Bruzzo (CNR-ISTI), describing two of the 14 open data services included in the MONITOR portfolio of the OpenAIRE-Nexus project that are used to monitor Open Science, research impact and open citations – the domains of interest of the two services presented. ScholeXplorer provides access under a CC-BY license to a huge set of links between datasets and scholarly publications, while OpenCitations, as an open infrastructure for open bibliographic metadata and citations, grants access to more than 1.18 billion DOI-to-DOI citation links, released with a CC0 public domain waiver. Both services also provide tools that allow users to query their data, with the common final goal of providing open links between scholarly resources and making them available within the OpenAire Research Graph.
As Silvio Peroni recalled, last July this article by Ian Hutchins:
This workshop involved Agata Morka and Vanessa Proudman from SCOSS, and representatives of the three Open Science Infrastructures involved in the Second SCOSS Funding Cycle, namely Silvio Peroni (OpenCitations), Niels Stern (DOAB/OAPEN), and James MacGregor (PKP). The starting topic of the Workshop, in which the funder perspective was provided Jean-Francois Lutz (University of Lorraine), was the paradox: although the scholarly community increasingly relies on Open Science Infrastructures, it seems very difficult to get them “to realize that there are some operational and development costs related to their existence”. In this discouraging environment, SCOSS plays a crucial role in promoting such services to potential supporters. The most recent SCOSS annual survey, presented by Jon Treadway (Great North Wood Consulting) during the workshop and involving 217 institutions from across the world, helps us understand the impact and external perception of SCOSS on a global scale. It revealed a correspondence between the geographical areas in which SCOSS is best known and the locations of the major supporters, which perhaps should not surprise us. More importantly, it found that, in addition to interoperability and global significance, community governance was one of the most important aspects of the infrastructures that institutions chose to invest in. In particular, the chance to be directly involved in governance was found to act as a great incentive for university libraries to invest in external infrastructures. Community governance is a core aspect of the Principles for Open Scholarly Infrastructures and, as underlined in this blog post, OpenCitations is working hard to achieve full compliance.
Obstacles to offering support were found to include administrative barriers, although these could be reduced if individual supporters joined consortia. Overall, however, such administration hurdles were minor issues. More significantly, some institutions were unable to pledge funds in the short term, and there was seen to be a need to raise awareness of the necessity of generating cultural change around the issue of community support. As Vanessa Proudman underlined, it is crucial to create dialogue with institutions and libraries, in order to foster the understanding that supporting Open Science Infrastructures could be beneficial for both students and researchers, and a realization that the minimum annual contribution requested by SCOSSfrom any one libraryto support such an infrastructure was less than a single article processing charge (APC), trivial in comparison with the huge annual institutional subscriptions for access to journals and citation indexes.
In a separate SCOSS interview, Marin Dacos (Open Science Advisor to the Director-General for Research and Innovation at the French Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation) defined Open Science Infrastructures as “a common good of the scholarly community”, distinctly different from the services of commercial publishers. An essential value of an Open Scholarly Infrastructure is its community engagement and, from this perspective, the community funding approach promoted by SCOSS is the most efficient. As Silvio Peroni said, “What after SCOSS? SCOSS helps in creating a community around the service, and this community remains even after the three-year period of SCOSS promotion is over”.
Maybe, by fostering this growing global network of institutions and services committed to promoting a more open research, Open Scholarly Infrastrucutres can find an answer to the question “How can we not be invisible?” and achieve not just ‘sustainable’ but sustained funding from the academic community.