Find OpenCitations on Infra Finder, a new tool to discover and support Open Infrastructures

If you are a leader of a Library or a Research Institution and would like to learn more about the existing open infrastructures that could help your institution to evolve in the research environment, but you don’t know where to look for, you can now use Infra Finder, a brand-new tool aimed at foster discovery, adoption, and investment for open infrastructure services. Infra Finder is launched by Invest in Open Infrastructure (IOI), and is designed to be the go-to resource for anyone navigating the complex landscape of infrastructure services and standards enabling open research and scholarship. 

The tool stems from the feedback collected from the community after the launch, in 2022, of the Catalog of Open Infrastructure Services pilot project in 2022, from which IOI decided to re-envision what outcomes they could affect and rethink what solutions could look like, also by furthering the Open Science principles conveyed by UNESCO’s Recommendation on Open Science, the Principles of Open Scholarly Infrastructure, and other Open Science initiatives and guidelines.  

We are happy to announce that OpenCitations is among the 56 infrastructures which have accepted IOI’s invitation to be included in this first release of Infra Finder. During its development, IOI team has been constantly collecting feedback from the infrastructures involved, and has conducted user testing to understand how different people might approach it. In OpenCitations we believe that Infra Finder could serve as an helpful tool to make OpenCitations and the other infrastructure services more visible to a wider and diverse community. Infra Finder allows users to easily find and compare the catalogued services, and its intuitive use could work as a starting point towards the creation of a greater awareness of existing open infrastructures, thus leading users to further explore their features and services and, hopefully, to consider the possibility of support their sustainability. 

IOI is currently planning to include new services in Infra Finder: if you are part of an organization that would like to be included, you can apply by filling out their Expression of Interest form. IOI will give two identical webinars to share with the community more details about the background and features of Infra Finder and on how interested infrastructure services can express interest in being listed. Register here to the either slot:  

May 2, 2024, 1600 UTC / 12pm Eastern 

May 3, 2024, 1400 UTC / 10am Eastern (in your time zone) 

The IOI blog post for the launch is available at https://investinopen.org/blog/infra-finder-your-hub-for-finding-infrastructure-services-enabling-open-research-and-scholarship  

OpenCitations supports the Barcelona Declaration on Open Research Information for a fundamental transformation in the research information landscape

Research Information can be defined as an information (sometimes referred to as metadata) relating to the conduct and communication of research. This includes, but is not limited to, (1) bibliographic metadata such as titles, abstracts, references, author data, affiliation data, and data on publication venues, (2) metadata on research software, research data, samples, and instruments, (3) information on funding and grants, and (4) information on organizations and research contributors. Research information is located in systems such as bibliographic databases, software archives, data repositories, and current research information systems.  

Decision-making in science is often biased by the typology of research information, and too often is based on closed research information, which is locked inside proprietary infrastructures and run by for-profit providers that impose severe restrictions on the use and reuse of the information. As a consequence, errors, gaps, and biases in closed research information are difficult to expose and even more difficult to fix. Indicators and analytics derived from this information lack transparency and reproducibility. Decisions about the careers of researchers, the future of research organizations, and ultimately the way science serves the whole of humanity, depend on these black-box indicators and analytics.  

There is an urgency for a fundamental change in the research information landscape towards openness. Indeed, open research information enables science policy decisions to be made based on transparent evidence and inclusive data and information used in research evaluations to be accessible and auditable by those being assessed. It makes it possible for the global movement towards open science to be supported by information that is fully open and transparent. 

Today, over 40 organizations, including the University of Bologna, are committing to making openness of research information the norm and to lead this change in the research information landscape. The signatories of the Barcelona Declaration on Open Research Information commit to taking a lead in transforming the way research information is used and produced, to make the openness of information about the conduct and communication of research the new norm. 

The full text of the Barcelona Declaration is now publicly shared on barcelona-declaration.org and presents the commitments that all the signatories of the Declaration adhere to, namely 

  • To make openness the default for the research information we use and produce; 
  • To work with services and systems that support and enable open research information; 
  • To support the sustainability of infrastructures for open research information; 
  • To support collective action to accelerate the transition to openness of research information. 

In addition to the signatories, the Declaration has been supported by several organizations providing data, services and infrastructures. OpenCitations has declared its support to the Declaration, together with AmeliCA, Crossref, Curtin Open Knowledge Initiative (COKI), DataCite, EuropePMC, DOAB, DOAJ, Europe PMC, Liberate Science GmbH, OAPEN, OpenAIRE, OurResearch, Redalyc and ROR. OpenCitations believes in the Declaration as a starting point for a substantial change by promoting values which OpenCitations fully supports, as stated in the words of our Director and Associate Professor at the University of Bologna Silvio Peroni:  

Since its creation in 2010, OpenCitations has always advocated and actively worked to produce open research information and develop infrastructural technologies to maximise its sharing and reuse in different applicative contexts. Thus, we embrace the Declaration’s goals and commitments and look forward to working with all the signatories to foster the use and production of open research information.

Prof. Silvio Peroni has been a part of the initial team of over 25 research information experts, representing organizations that carry out, fund, and evaluate research, as well as organizations that provide research information infrastructures, which first prepared The Barcelona Declaration on Open Research Information. The group met in Barcelona in November 2023 in a workshop hosted by SIRIS Foundation. The preparation of the Declaration was coordinated by Bianca Kramer (Sesame Open Science), Cameron Neylon (Curtin Open Knowledge Initiative, Curtin University), and Ludo Waltman (Centre for Science and Technology Studies, Leiden University).  

As of April 15, 2024, the list of signatories involves universities and other research performing organizations such as Αthena Research Center (Greece), Charles University (Czech Republic), Coimbra Group (international), Hamburg University of Technology (Germany), I-CERCA – Centres de Recerca de Catalunya (Spain), Instituto Brasileiro de Informação em Ciência e TecnologiaIbict (Brazil), Leiden University (Netherlands), Museo Galileo. Istituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza (Italy), Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg (Germany), Sorbonne Université (France), Spanish National Research Council – CSIC (Spain), Udice – French Research Universities (France), UnilLaSalle (France), Universidad de Antioquia (Colombia), Università di Bologna (Italy), Universitat de Barcelona (Spain), Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (Spain), Université Grenoble Alpes (France), Université Le Havre Normandie (France), Université Paris Saclay (France), University of Coimbra (Portugal), University of Groningen (Netherlands), University of Maribor (Slovenia), University of Milan (Italy), University of Poitiers (France), University of the Azores (Portugal), University of the Balearic Islands (Spain), University of Turku (Finland), Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (Netherlands); research funding organizations and governments, including Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (US), Catalan Foundation for Research and Innovation – FCRI (Spain), Dutch Research Council NWO (Netherlands), French Open Science Committee (France), French National Research Agency – ANR (France), Fundació Internacional Josep Carreras (Spain), Région Normandie (France), Regione Toscana (Italy), ZonMw (Netherlands); other organizations: Consorci de Serveis Universitaris de Catalunya – CSUC (Spain); EOSC Association (international), Latin American Council of Social Sciences – CLACSO (international), National Open Research Analytics, Technical University of Denmark (Denmark), State Scientific and Technical Library of Ukraine (Ukraine), TIB – Leibniz Information Centre for Science and Technology and University Library (Germany), UK Reproducibility Network – UKRN (UK). 

There is a need for global and concrete action to reach the tipping point in the transition from closed to open research information, and the Barcelona Declaration on Open Research Information is open for signature by all organizations that carry out, fund, and evaluate research to support this transition.  

If you want to learn more about the Barcelona Declaration, join us in the launch webinar on April 23, 1.00-2.30pm CEST. Click here to register for the webinar.  

You can also keep yourself up to date by following the Barcelona Declaration’s social media channels:  

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/barcelona-declaration/ 

Mastodon: https://mastodon.social/@BarcelonaDORI 

X: https://x.com/BarcelonaDORI 

 

A new revolutionary workflow for a unified collection of citations: say hello to the OpenCitations Index

Blog post by Ivan Heibi (University of Bologna), Arianna Moretti (University of Bologna) and Chiara Di Giambattista (University of Bologna).

In the past five years, the OpenCitations data has been enriched with numerous new indexes of open citation data from different sources. However, the quantity and diversification of the ingested information have raised several issues, which recently made it essential to conduct a complete revision of the ingestion workflow. The result was a revolution in the way OpenCitations data is delivered. In this blog post, we will explain the context and challenges raised by the old procedure. Then, we will present the new ingestion workflow, designed to produce just two comprehensive collections: OpenCitations Index, collecting open citation data, and OpenCitations Meta, for the open bibliographical metadata. 

Once upon a time, there were five OpenCitations indexes…

In 2018, OpenCitations released the kickoff version of its first citation index, COCI (citations from Crossref), which contained around 300 million citation links derived from the subset of the reference lists in the Crossref database, where citing and cited entities were identified using Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs). COCI gathered citations with associated metadata in compliance with the recommendations from the Initiative for Open Citations (I4OC) that citation data should be structured, separable, and open, thus marking a turning point by providing a disruptive and free and open alternative to earlier sources such as Google Scholar, which provided freely accessible data although not downloadable, and Web of Science or Scopus, which demanded paid access. 

In a short time, COCI became a competitive and trusted index of citation data, used by numerous institutional repositories, including B!son and Optimeta. In 2021, COCI was taken into account in a comparative study with the most relevant sources in the landscape, including the proprietary ones, which showed its coverage approaching parity with those of the other sources involved in the analysis (Microsoft Academic, Scopus, Dimensions, and Web of Science). At the time of its most recent update in January 2023, COCI counted more than 1.4 billion citations. The reason behind this outstanding number lies in several factors, including Elsevier’s endorsement of the Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) in December 2020, leading to the open release via Crossref of the reference lists of the articles published in all its journals, and confirming the value of initiatives such as the Initiative for Open Citations (I4OC)

However, before this change of heart, in 2019 OpenCitations had tried to narrow the open citations coverage gap by launching its second index, the Crowdsourced Open Citations Index (CROCI). This index allowed publishers and scholars to contribute directly by uploading crowdsourced open citations into the OpenCitations infrastructure.

In December 2022, a new concrete step towards a factual plurality of OpenCitations indexes was taken by the ingestion of new data sources into the infrastructure, with the publication of the inaugural dumps of DOCI (citations from DataCite) and POCI (citations from PubMed). In June 2023, the first version of the OROCI (citations from OpenAIRE) dump was released too, and JOCI (citations from JALC) is expected to be available by the end of November 2023, for a total of five collections from different sources. 

Why a new workflow? The issues with multiple sources management and new challenges

While having such a variety and richness of indexes helped present the extent of OpenCitations sources, the recent increment in the number of sources and the diversification of data integrated led to two primary issues:

    1. the necessity to handle the ingestion of new identifier types in a DOI-based software infrastructure, and
    2. the consequent possibility of encountering the same citation expressed by several sources with different identifiers.

Moreover, it soon became evident the need to optimize the reuse of the already developed software components to facilitate the metadata crosswalk processes between the new sources’ data models and the OpenCitations Data Model, with the aim to define a functional and easily extendable workflow to be easily reused when it comes to incorporating new data sources, which should be: 

    1. sufficiently generic to establish a globally unique procedure; 
    2. customizable enough to capture the necessary information within each of the specific data models and formats. 

As a solution, we decided to use OpenCitations Meta, the new OpenCitations database and tool for managing bibliographic data related to the publications involved in the citations. OpenCitations Meta makes it possible to assign each entity involved in a citation an internal identifier, nominally the OpenCitations Meta Identifier (OMID), to which all the associated persistent identifiers of the same publication are redirected.

As a result, the allocation of an OMID for each bibliographic resource also enabled the unambiguous identification of each citation, regardless of the persistent identifier schema originally used by the data source to identify the resources. This approach allowed us to perform data deduplication and finally make all the sources’ contributions converge into a unified index containing all the unique citations managed by OpenCitations, expressed as OMID to OMID citation links.

The revised workflow

The new workflow is based on three main components with the benefit of optimizing the process both in terms of computational cost and in terms of flexibility. As shown in Fig. 1, in a preliminary step, source-specific software converts the input dataset – structured according to the source data model – to extract two OpenCitations Data Model compliant data collections in tabular format for bibliographic metadata and citation data, respectively.

The following steps are common to the process of each dataset.  

STEP 1: The bibliographic metadata collection is used as input for the META software. At this stage, it is checked whether or not the bibliographic entities have been previously integrated into our infrastructure (coming from other data sources). If so, the existing OMID is linked also to the new alternative identifiers of the new bibliographic resources. New metadata values, if any, are also integrated. A new OMID identifier is produced for entities never previously encountered, uniquely representing the bibliographic resource in OpenCitations. The outputs of the process are: (I) an updated version of the OpenCitations Meta collection that also includes the metadata of the bibliographic entities provided by the new source, and (II) a collection of provenance data. An internal database is constantly refreshed to preserve correspondence between IDs and the associated internal OMIDs.

STEP 2: Starting from the collection of citations expressed as directional links between identifiers of potentially any type (e.g., DOI-DOI, PMID-PMID, PMC-PMID, etc.), the INDEX software queries the internal database mapping IDs to OMIDs to produce an updated version of the OpenCitations Index: unique citations expressed as OMID-OMID links in different formats, accompanied by their corresponding provenance data.

Fig. 1: An overview of the data ingestion workflow, starting from the data source-specific conversion and production of citations and bibliographic metadata tables, progressing through the META process and the assignation of an OMID identifier to each bibliographic record involved in a citation, and culminating with the exposition of the OpenCitations Index collection of OMID-OMID unique citations.

What we have now: The OpenCitations Index 

From now on, OpenCitations will no longer display an index of citation data for each source. Instead, we will publish a single collection of citations into which the contributions from each of the sources will flow, which we will simply call ‘The OpenCitations Index‘. The first version of this unified index of OMID-OMID citations is posted on Figshare. It was produced in RDF, CSV, and SCHOLIX formats, together with a collection of its provenance information, provided in RDF and CSV formats. For each citation, it is possible to trace the source of the information by consulting the Provenance data collection, thanks to the http://www.w3.org/ns/prov#atLocation property, which defines the location of each citation.

This new solution has the benefit of simplifying the consultation of the data maintained by our infrastructure without reducing the information content. In addition, by including efficient handling of the deduplication problem, the new Index not only provides accurate data on the exact number of unique citations exposed by the framework but also verifies the individual contribution of each source, as well as their overlapping data (Fig. 2).

Fig. 2: An overview of the number of citations stored in the OpenCitations Index as of October 31, 2023. The diagonal cells in the table (highlighted in yellow) show the unique contribution of each collection to the OpenCitations Index, while the other cells represent the citations that are shared between the collections. More in detail, the green cells show the overall input of each source, while the pink cells represent the number of overlapping citations between two data sources.

Currently, the Index contains almost 2 billion unique citations. By the end of November, a new version of the collection will be published, including the contribution of the new Japan Link Centre (JaLC) source. 

How to access the OpenCitations Index data

To maximize the reuse of the exposed information and to ensure the greatest possible interoperability, the collection will always be published on Figshare in all formats listed above. In addition, the data will be accessible via an API, a SPARQL endpoint, and a web interface.

The redesign of the ingestion workflow marks a fundamental step for OpenCitations towards a more intuitive and simple access to our services while always preserving and improving the quality of our data. If you need further information on how the new workflow works, please visit our website, contact us at contact@opencitations.net  or leave feedback and/or suggestions in the dedicated card on our public roadmap to help us improve our services and communications. Thank you!

OpenCitations needs you: support the change in research practices

In OpenCitations, we like to define our infrastructure organization as “community-based” and “community-driven”, and we really mean it. The support coming from the number of academic libraries and consortia coming after OpenCitations’ involvement in the 2nd SCOSS funding cycle has made it possible, starting from 2020, to make OpenCitations develop from a small university project based on time-limited grant incomes to being an open infrastructure globally recognized for the provision of open citation data and bibliographical metadata. We want to thank all our members and donors, for trusting our mission and sustaining OpenCitations activities with their continuous and generous support, despite the pandemic and post-pandemic times. 

While retracing our work in the last three years, we are astonished by the achievements our team has accomplished, and by how in such a limited time frame OpenCitations has approached David Shotton’s initial vision (who is one of the co-directors of OpenCitations), when he first shaped the project back in 2010. Here are just some of the technical developments that have marked the last years:

  • in 2021, COCI, the OpenCitations Index of Crossref open DOI-to-DOI citations crossed the threshold of one billion citations stored;
  • in 2022, we released the two new OpenCitations indexes of open citations, DOCI (citations from DataCite) and POCI (citations from PubMed);
  • we expanded our collection besides the citation data by releasing OpenCitations Meta, a database storing and delivering bibliographic metadata for all the publications in the OpenCitations Indexes, including the publication’s title, type, venue (e.g. journal name), volume number, issue number, page numbers, publication date, identifiers and details of the main actors involved in the document’s publication (the names of the authors, editors, and publishers); 
  • as of October 2023, OpenCitations Indexes contain information on 1.82 billion unique open citations. 

However, the most significant achievements for OpenCiations in the last years have been the creation of a prolific network of collaborations with other Open Science projects, such as OpenAIRE-Nexus, RISIS2 and GraspOS, and the establishment of a structured team, involving young researchers and PhD students, whose work at the University of Bologna has made it possible to work on the technical developments day by day. 

Our results are a strong indicator of the growing sensibility on the theme of the open provision of bibliographical metadata and citation data, of which Open Citations is at the forefront as a founding member of the Initiative for Open Citations (I4OC) and the Initiative for Open Abstracts (I4OA). The effort and awareness campaigns led by these initiatives, by DORA and the Open Science community as a whole, have led more and more publishers to a change of heart and to open their reference lists. OpenCitations is an integral part of an ongoing process of transformation of the research environment, and we have collected and interpreted some of the needs of the academic community to plan our future activities and developments. We still need your help and support to make it possible to maintain and improve our infrastructure and to sustain the team working at OpenCitations

If you believe in

  • the importance of open bibliographic data for the creation of reproducible metrics for research assessment exercises
  • the power of the scholarly community to change existing practice by reclaiming ownership of its own data– and you want to become an active part of this change

please consider supporting OpenCitations either via membership or donation. You can find all the information on membership on our website at https://opencitations.net/membership, or you can ask for information by contacting us at membership@opencitations.net

Together, we can work to create an open and inclusive future for science and research. 

Thank You!

The OpenCitations blog posts are now archived on Rogue Scholar with DOIs

Last April, Martin Fenner launched Rogue Scholar, an archive of science blogs aiming to index full-text of blog posts, establish a full-text search, and register DOIs and metadata for all posts. Rogue Scholar works with all blogging platforms that publish scholarly content and have an RSS or Atom feed with full-text content distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY 4.0) license.    

Rogue Scholar currently features 40 blogs, including the OpenCitations blog, with more than 1,000 blog posts that are available via full-text search, with DOIs linking to the original post on one of 40 science blogs. By exploring the OpenCitations blog’s profile on Rogue Scholar, you will find the last 40 posts with summaries (derived from the information you get in the RSS feed), and by clicking on the DOI you will be redirected to the full post on the blog. The DOI metadata include abstract, language, license, and (OECD Fields of Science) subject category for all posts.  

Rogue Scholar is growing day by day, and the increasing involvement of science blogs – from different disciplines and various languages – demonstrates that a central archive of science blogs with full-text content, and DOIs for all blog posts with relevant metadata is feasible, making an important contribution to Open Scholarly infrastructure”. 

Thanks to a recently launched Mastodon instance at Rogue Scholar Social, the OpenCitations blog has now its own Mastodon feed, where you can keep yourself updated about the last posts of the OpenCitations blog, by finding summaries and the related DOIs linking to the full post – and you can also boost and comment, of course! Please follow us at https://rogue-scholar.social/@opencitations  to not miss anything.  

If you are managing a Science Blog and are interested in adding it to the Rogue Scholar archive, or if you are just interested in the topic of metadata for scholarly blogs, please contact info@front-matter.io  

 

OpenCitations is part of the CoARA Working Group Towards Open Infrastructures for Responsible Research Assessment (OI4RRA)

Last March, the  Coalition for Advancing Research Assessment (CoARA) launched its call for members to propose Working Groups and National Chapters. The aim of the call (which was closed in June) was to foster the creation of Working Groups that would work as ‘communities of practice’ to enable systemic reform of research assessment by providing mutual learning and collaboration on specific thematic areas 

A group of 23 Coalition members, including University of Bologna’s personnel working at OpenCitations, collaborated in designing and proposing the CoARA Working Group Towards Open Infrastructures for Responsible Research Assessment (OI4RRA), focusing on having open infrastructures for making research assessment more transparent and responsible, and thus enabling the research community to be in full control of the data and indicators it relies on in assessments. 

We are now thrilled to announce that the proposed Working Group has been accepted, and will start its activities in the next months, with the mission to “enable institutions to move from proprietary infrastructure and research information, to open alternatives–in support of the transition to responsible research assessment practices. This effort will take into consideration the wide range of research outputs and open science practices and address the diversity of the global research community”. 

The CoARA Working Group Towards Open Infrastructures for Responsible Research Assessment will work to facilitate the use of existing open infrastructures, -, with the aim to make it possible a transition to a fully OI4RRA ecosystem – interconnected, decentralised and open –  that is fit to serve existing and emerging needs of reformed RRA agendas.  

For more information visit the dedicated section on CoARA’s website, and read the full list of participants in OI4RRA here 

The French National Fund for Open Science renews its support to OpenCitations

We are delighted to announce that the French National Fund for Open Science (FNSO) has renewed its commitment to sustaining the activities of four SCOSS-selected infrastructures, including OpenCitations. 

The four supported infrastructures (OpenCitations, the DOAB, LA Referencia and ROR) “were evaluated by the jury composed by SCOSS, then according to the exemplary criteria of the Committee for the Open Science, which notably guarantee transparency and the participation of the scientific communities in their governance”.

Since 2020, the FNSO has acknowledged OpenCitations as an infrastructure worth its financial support, thanks to its mission of disseminating bibliographic and citation metadata in open access with a level of quality and coverage, thus providing a workable, free and open alternative to the academic community’s current dependency on proprietary tools. OpenCitations’ work therefore frees up citation analysis, promotes the evolution of bibliometric indicators and the broadening knowledge of science.

The FNSO is now contributing to OpenCitations with recurring funding for 2023, 2024 and 2025 for an annual amount of €75,000. This generous support will be crucial in sustaining the maintenance and development of OpenCitations’ technical infrastructure, and in supporting the future activities of the OpenCitations team, that are publicly displayed in the OpenCitations Roadmap

We are extremely honoured and grateful to the French National Fund for Open Science for renewing the pledge of such a portion of its open science budget to support our work. 

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