“Last week Elsevier announced that it has signed the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) and that it is going to make the reference lists of articles openly available in Crossref. In this Q&A, Ludo Waltman shares his perspective on Elsevier’s decision to open its citations….”
“Anyone who goes through the process of screening large amounts of texts such as newspapers, scientific abstracts for a systematic review, or ancient texts, knows how labor intensive this can be. With the rapidly evolving field of Artificial Intelligence (AI), the large amount of manual work can be reduced or even completely replaced by software using active learning.
By using our AI-aided tool, you can not only save time, but you can also increase the quality of your screening process. ASReview enables you to screen more texts than the traditional way of screening in the same amount of time. Which means that you can achieve a higher quality than when you would have used the traditional approach.
Consider the example of systematic reviews, which are “top of the bill” in research. However, the number of scientific papers on any topic is skyrocketing. Since it is of crucial importance for the advancement of science to produce high-quality systematic review articles, sometimes as quickly as possible in times of crisis, we need to find a way to effectively automate this screening process. Before Elas* was there to help you, systematic reviewing was an exhaustive task, often very boring….”
“Emerald Publishing has joined the Initiative for Open Abstracts (I4OA), a cross-publisher initiative whereby scholarly publishers open the abstracts of their publications to allow for unrestricted availability of abstracts to boost the discovery of research. I4OA is also supported by a large number of research funders, libraries and library associations, infrastructure providers, and open science organisations….”
“In a bid to boost the reach and reuse of scientific results, a group of scholarly publishers has pledged to make abstracts of research papers free to read in a cross-disciplinary repository.
Most abstracts are already available on journal websites or on scholarly databases such as PubMed, even if the papers themselves are behind paywalls. But this patchwork limits the reach and visibility of global research, says Ludo Waltman, deputy director of the Centre for Science and Technology Studies at Leiden University in the Netherlands, and coordinator of the initiative for open abstracts, called I4OA.
Publishers involved in I4OA have agreed to submit their article summaries to Crossref, an agency that registers scholarly papers’ unique digital object identifiers (DOIs). Crossref will make the abstracts available in a common format. So far, 52 publishers have signed up to the initiative, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the US National Academy of Sciences….”
“A common goal of authors and publishers has long been more readership for their publications.?Traditionally, the abstract was a teaser to encourage the potential reader to buy or subscribe to read the full text. Even in an open access economy, a good abstract can trigger a coveted “download” and even more coveted citation. Why then do many publishers not make their abstracts and other metadata such as references or license information freely accessible in a machine-readable format?”
“The Initiative for Open Abstracts (I4OA) is a collaboration between scholarly publishers, infrastructure organizations, librarians, researchers and other interested parties to advocate and promote the unrestricted availability of the abstracts of the world’s scholarly publications, particularly journal articles and book chapters, in trusted repositories where they are open and machine-accessible. I4OA calls on all scholarly publishers to open the abstracts of their published works, and where possible to submit them to Crossref….”
“The Initiative for Open Abstracts (I4OA) calls on scholarly publishers to open their abstracts, and specifically to deposit them with Crossref. Unrestricted availability of abstracts will boost the discovery of research. 40 publishers have already agreed to support I4OA and to make their abstracts openly available. I4OA is also supported by a large number of research funders, libraries and library associations, infrastructure providers, and open science organizations….”
“One of the tactical questions that often comes up with moving towards more open practice in research is the value of taking small steps vs fighting the large battles. Sometimes big changes occur – and the shift towards open access, although slow is an example of a big shift – but often a set of small steps can help to build towards progress. But there is a tension here as well. Small improvements relieve pressure on the system. How do we address the risk that they reduce progress over all? The key to this is in understanding what those small steps can achieve.
Improving the quality and openness of metadata about scholarly communications is an example where many small steps have been made. Because metadata is infrastructure, underpinning many other systems, it is almost entirely invisible. But the work to make it is not.
We make elements of progress, each of them seemingly quite small, but then in combination they suddenly enable significant change.
What we do within the Curtin Open Knowledge Initiative is possible in large part due to incremental improvements in the infrastructure of persistent identifiers and the quality of open metadata data generally. The improvement in access to open citations data as a result of I4OC has been a major boost to our research allowing us, for instance to make a fair comparison of how a citation count index would perform if it used different bibliographic data sources to define the set of outputs to count citations for.
But where does metadata end and content begin? As a research project we also want to be able to do more granular analysis of the contents of research. Lots of data sources provide a classification of the topics of articles, either at the journal or article level. But mostly these are black boxes that tell us more about who made those classifications than about the things we’re interested in. For instance, in my work I’ve frequently been more interested in categorising articles by the technique that they use, rather than the topic being studied. Sometimes the region a study focuses on is more important than the discipline label. In a perfect world any researcher would be able to process the full text to create their own categorisations, but then we’re restricted to open access content, even assuming we can gather all the content together efficiently. Titles can tell us something, but certainly not enough.
What would make a huge difference is comprehensive and central access to abstracts….”
“In my discipline (e-health literacy), I often find myself debating whether abstracts being freely available to patients is of any real benefit. For researchers and clinicians, abstracts are a great timesaver—enabling a “flick-through” of the copious amounts of new articles for timely follow up. They may also be used by treating physicians and healthcare teams as a starting point for treatment planning and research. But abstracts are not designed to be an independent pathway to inform health decisions for patients lacking the appropriate professional expertise and health literacy skills….”
[Is this an argument against OA for abstracts, or for OA to full-text articles?]