As part of our ongoing development of ScienceOpen 2.017, we have designed an exciting and most importantly, pretty, new context-enhanced webpage for each of our 27 million article records. Such enriched article metadata is becoming increasingly important in defining the context of research in the evolution of scholarly communication, in which we are moving away from journal- to article-level evaluation.
Statistically significant upgrades
All of the statistics have been moved to the top of the page, including the number of page views or readers, the Altmetric score, the number of recommendations, and the number of social media shares.
Newly featured statistics include the top references cited within, the top articles citing that paper, and the number of similar articles based on keywords and topics. These new features are great for authors as content creators, researchers as users, as well as publishers for understanding the popularity and context of research they publish.
With the launch of our new unified search interface, we restructured the Author Profile page on ScienceOpen, providing dynamic ways to explore an author’s output.
For a very prolific author like Ray Dolan, Director of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging at UCL and author of 674 articles, it can be hard work for a reader to even just scroll through the titles of his total output. The new ScienceOpen author profile, however, provides the researcher a variety of avenues to delve into this content on their own terms. They can sort publications by Altmetric score, citations, usage, date or reviews – to find the view that fits their needs.
The left side-bar overview shows top collections, journals, publishers, keywords and disciplines. Users can also search within the publication list with a free-text search or add up to 14 filters to find exactly the content that is relevant to them
The top metrics bar provides a view on total usage of the articles on the site and activity by the author. And if you want to know more about the background of the author just click on the profile button for biography and more.
How does it work? From the beginning ScienceOpen has worked closely with ORCID and required an ORCID ID for active participation in the network. We draw our information therefore from a user’s public profile. If we detect an author who is not identified in our network with an ORCID (we are tracking nearly 15 million authors), we mark the profile as “record” to indicate a lower level of reliability; for example, this profile from Jonathan A. Eisen:
Below are several examples of interesting profiles on ScienceOpen to inspire you. We welcome you to search, explore, link your ORCID to your own profile and share your experience with us. At ScienceOpen we are striving to serve the academic community and always welcome your input.
At ScienceOpen, we’ve just upgraded our search and discovery platform to be faster, smarter, and more efficient. A new user interface and filtering capabilities provide a better discovery experience for users. ScienceOpen searches more than 27 million full text open access or article metadata records and puts them in context. We include peer-reviewed academic articles from all fields, including pre-prints that we draw from the arXiv and which are explicitly tagged as such.
The current scale of academic publishing around the world is enormous. According to a recent STM report, we currently publish around 2.5 million new peer reviewed articles every single year, and that’s just in English language journals.
The problem with this for researchers and more broadly is how to stay up to date with newly published research. And not just in our own fields, but in related fields too. Researchers are permanently inundated, and we need to find a way to sift the wheat from the chaff.
The solution is smart and enhanced search and discovery. Platforms like ResearchGate and Google Scholar (GS) have just a single layer of discovery, with additional functions such as sorting by date to help narrow things down a bit. GS is the de facto mode of discovery of primary research for most academics, but it also contains a whole slew of ‘grey literature’ (i.e., non-peer reviewed outputs), which often interferes with finding the best research.
As well as this, if you do a simple search with GS, say just for dinosaurs, you get 161,000 returned results. How on Earth are you supposed to find the most useful and most relevant research based on this if you want to move beyond Google’s page rank, especially if you’re entering this from outside the area of specialisation? Simply narrowing down by dates does very little to prevent being overwhelmed with an absolute deluge of maybe maybe-not relevant literature. We need to do better at research discovery.
We publish from across the whole spectrum of research: Science, Technology, Engineering, Humanities, Mathematics, Social Sciences. Every piece of research deserves an equal chance to be published, irrespective of its field.
We also don’t discriminate based on the type of research. Original research, small-scale studies, opinion pieces, “negative” or null findings, review articles, data and software articles, case reports, and replication studies. We publish it all.
At ScienceOpen, we believe that the Journal Impact Factor (JIF) is a particularly poor way of measuring the impact of scholarly publishing. Furthermore, we think that it is a highly misleading metric for research assessment despite its widespread [mis-]use for this, and we strongly encourage researchers to adhere to the principles of DORA and the Leiden Manifesto.
This is why for our primary publication, ScienceOpen Research, we do not obtain or report the JIF. We provide article-level metrics and a range of other article aspects that provide and enhance the context of each article, and extend this to all 25 million research articles on our platform.
A simple proposal for the publication of journal citation distributions (link)
How can academia kick its addiction to the impact factor (link)
For years now, the journal and the publisher have held sway over many aspects of discovery and evaluation of research and researchers. The development of the Web was expected to disrupt this, but innovation has been slow. Collectively, the research community have been cautious in embracing the power that has been granted to us for integration, sharing, and using semantic technologies to enhance how we read, communicate, and re-use the scientific record.
At ScienceOpen, we believe that opening up article-level information will be part of the next wave of innovation in scholarly publishing and communications. Our CEO, Stephanie Dawson, spoke about this with Research Information recently, conveying the idea that we need to embrace the power of modern technologies to unlock the multi-dimensional intrinsic value of articles in their broader ‘context’.
At ScienceOpen, we’re constantly upgrading our platform to provide the best possible user interaction experience. We get feedback from the research community all the time, and try to adapt to best meet their needs.
So today, we’re happy to announce two neat little features in our latest updates.
Firstly, all Open Access articles now have a cute little symbol next to them, making it even easier for you to discover open content. This shows up on all of our Open Access content across nearly 14 million article records now. Making open content stand out is a great way to encourage others to adopt open practices, as well as help people see which content they can re-use most easily.
As well as this, we have a new browsing function built into our collections. Sometimes, collections are pretty big. Our new SciELO collections have some with tens of thousands of open access articles, and sifting through that manually is not exactly a valuable use of ones time.
With this new function, you can now filter content within collections by journal, publisher, keywords, and even filter them by citations or Altmetric scores. Discovering content relevant to your research should be smart and efficient, and this is what our platform delivers. Try it out on this collection, or build your own!
I want to share with you something cool that we have developed at ScienceOpen.
In my former life, as an editor working for a traditional scientific publisher, I had a broad overview of my subject area, but my level of expertise was not close to that of a practicing researcher working in the field. Every day I needed to answer questions like “Who is the most influential researcher in niche area X?”; “How does our recently published work stack up against similar articles Y?”; “Are people talking more about topic A or B?”.
Editors are not alone with these pressing questions. Everyone who searches for information in a field beyond their immediate expertise faces similar problems. In an Elsevier study 87% of researchers reported cross-disciplinary searching in new fields at least once a month.
So what was my solution at the time? Back then, in our small publishing house, a subscription to privately held scholarly databases that could run to ten or twenty thousand dollars, was just out of the question. We could make an educated guess; but knowledge is always preferable to guessing. So, we ended up taking the subway across town to use the major databases that were only available at the library. In those days, I would have done anything for a freely available open citation network that could tell me the top cited papers and authors across all publishers, recommend related articles, and show what topics are getting the most traction in the popular media.
What did I have to do to get my freely available open citation network? Together with the ScienceOpen Team WE BUILT ONE!! This tool is so awesome that I constantly have to stop myself from accosting strangers on the subway to tell them how much easier we just made their search experience. “Forget about the library,” in case they are on their way to access Web of Science or Scopus, “you can search from your home, office, or right now on your smart phone!”
So how does it work? ScienceOpen already covers over 10 million articles and is growing fast. Type in your search term and filter your results in a myriad of ways. Only articles published in the last two years? Easy. Only Open Access? Check. Even while using these criteria, a search for “Diabetes” brings back 13,053 results. Dilemma. What to read? Sort your results by “Cited by count”. The citation numbers don’t claim to be comprehensive, but they do provide an accurate picture of the relationships between citations on the site. And already, it’s made it easier for me to get a quick overview of what the community finds most important. I can also start asking questions like: why are some papers with an Altmetric score of over 500 cited 20 times, and other papers with an Altmetric score of 3 cited hundreds of times?
When I pick a paper to explore more deeply, ScienceOpen offers me the list of the paper references – sorted by citation number, a list of cited authors linked to their other publications in the network, and similar articles based on keywords and title. I can play with this tool all day. But if I need to find a reviewer, a collaborator, an author, an expert, then I am already well on my way. No more long subway rides to access privately held scholarly databases.
Try out this new ScienceOpen feature and tell a friend (but maybe not a stranger on the subway!).
Previously I saw a headline that read “Search is so 2014”! I stopped and questioned whether I agreed with that statement. The article then went on to describe some of the more interesting developments in how to find the “right article in the rapidly growing information haystack” and some of them matched my own picks which include:
SNAP from Jstor Labs – a mobile app that allows you to take a picture of any page of text and get a list of research articles from JSTOR on the same topic.
Sparrho – a content recommendation engine that aggregates and distills information based on user preferences and makes personalised suggestions. We invited their team to post a guest blog.
However, I still believe that there is a role for Search in 2015, even as it is eventually replaced or enriched by more sophisticated tools.
The part Search plays here at ScienceOpen is particularly important given that we are just beginning our quest to aggregate the world’s Open Access content in all disciplines. The corpus here is growing (nearly 1.5 million articles from nearly 2.5 million authors). The pace of scientific literature growth is rapid, expanding at the rate of more than 2 articles per minute (Mark2Cure). Both are good reasons why we have been focusing our development efforts on improving the precision of our search results because to some extent “if you can’t find it, it doesn’t exist”.
For Search to qualify as “good” in my book it needs to be precise, fast and flexible. Here’s my mini review of ScienceOpen Search:
Search delivered rapid and accurate results, so two thumbs up here.
The results could be parsed using the aggregation source (PubMed Central, ArXiv and ScienceOpen) or the name of the originating journal/publisher.
For the geeks among you, our Search is powered by ElasticSearch.
When I forgot the exact spelling of an author name, this field offered me possible name options to pick from (nice).
As a publisher myself, I had to try searching by company name. I was surprised to find 1555 OA articles by the American Chemical Society(ACS) on our platform. I also found 2816 articles from Elsevier. This is a tiny fraction of their output but at least something is there.
In a nod to our belief that Journals will become increasingly less important (and hopefully the strangle hold of the IF will be released) as researchers aggregate content themselves (for example using our new Collection tool), users can search by Collection (which has it’s own tab).
Once you’ve found a relevant article, we provide the XML (and PDF) because let’s be honest, in the digital future, a static PDF probably won’t be of much use.
I want to acknowledge the ScienceOpen Dev team (Raj, Ed and X, led by Tibor) for their excellent work on this release.
Image credit: Forever and Always Two Bright Flowers on Blue Sky by Pink Sherbet Photography, CC BY
Before I get on with the substance of this post about an article that CEO Stephanie and I wrote together that was recently published, I want to draw your attention to this picture which I chose for us. From the moment we met at a PLOS altmetrics event at Fort Mason, San Francisco, CA, we got along famously. Working with her for the past year, through the highs and lows of trying to bring change to the stubbornly resistant field of scholarly communication, has been an absolute pleasure. I look forward to sharing many more experiences together.
As many of you know, Stephanie is a road warrior for OA and travels extensively in Europe presenting on the future of scholarly communication and the ScienceOpen vision. After a trip to Portugal last year, where she was invited to speak at the ICOLC (International Coalition of Library Consortia) meeting, she met Lorraine Estelle, Executive Director of Digital Content and Resource Discovery and CEO Jisc Collections and co-editor of Insights: The UKSG Journal. Afterwards, Stephanie received an invitation to submit an article to Insights (free to publish and OA) about the approach and business model of ScienceOpen as presented at the ICOLC.
With only so many hours in the day, Stephanie invited me to join her in writing this article. After many hours of writing effort, a pleasant submission process via Ubiquity Press, a few rounds of fair minded peer-review revisions (anonymous!) and some hand holding from Ally Souster, Publications Assistant at the UKSG, our Case Study entitled: Scholarly publishing for the network generation is now published.
One of the most gratifying parts of writing this article, as a relatively new start-up, was the opportunity to lay out the ScienceOpen belief system and the importance of combining publishing and software expertise for success in digital scholarly communication. Here’s a little excerpt for those of you who don’t have time to read the whole article:
in immediate publication in order to speed up research. We publish the author’s PDF in ‘Preview’ with digital object identifier (DOI) within about a week of submission
that siloing OA content on publishers’ websites does not lend itself to creative reuse; a good reason to aggregate 1.4 million articles (currently from PubMed Central and arXiv) on our platform
that journals, whether ‘mega-’, highly specialized or super selective, are becoming outmoded. We need channels to serve OA content that meet community needs
in giving the power for content creation, curation and review fully back to the research community who have the required discipline-specific expertise
that whether content is ‘worthy’ is a matter for the community to decide, which is why we only offer post-publication peer review (PPPR) (non-anonymous) for our ScienceOpen journals
in expert review, and therefore insist that those participating must have five publications linked to their ORCiD to maintain the level of scientific discourse on the site
that the conversation about research is never over, which is why we don’t put a hard line under content and call it ‘approved’ and why we offer versioning”.
The ScienceOpen team combines publishing expertise (backgrounds and experience with PLOS, De Gruyter, Wiley, Springer, Nature Publishing Group, American Association for the Advancement of Science [AAAS] and The Scientist) with a software company. Often publishers cannot easily adapt to the changing needs of the communities they serve because they are not software developers and, increasingly, this is the key ingredient needed for success in the digital world. This means that although they may want to change their offering, they simply can’t do so as quickly as they might like because their legacy systems hold them back.
The reason that we combine publishing and software expertise is that we think it is this combination that will make it possible for us to rapidly adapt to the changing needs of researchers. For example, the conversation about the future of research communication now includes the openness of data, the evaluation of impact (both article and author) plus the reproducibility of research. All these topics are hotly debated on blogs, Twitter and in the mainstream press which places them before the public for their consideration. This only seems right and proper since taxpayer funding is a core component of research.
Heading down this open path is easier for nimble and technology-empowered organizations such as ScienceOpen because there is truth in the old adage that ‘one thing leads to another’. Establishing non-anonymous PPPR in and of itself increases the transparency of the research process and makes it ideally suited to tackle issues of reproducibility such as reminding reviewers to ask for more clarity in methods, or suggesting more experiments or even ways to collaborate”.
Thanks to everyone who gave us the opportunity to write this piece and supported us throughout the process.
One of the trickiest parts about launching anything new, also true for PLOS ONE too back in the day (hard to believe now!), is that the best way to explain what you do is to show it in action. Since we only officially launched in May, we’ve been watching some interesting use-cases develop, by which we mean ScienceOpen articles with Non-Anonymous Post-Publication Peer Review (PPPR). Even though we publish with DOI in about a week, it’s taken a little longer for the reviewers to have their say (reviews also receive a DOI), but we’re finding that what they say is well worth reading.
These articles and their associated reviews reassure us that PPPR, which some feel is still pretty radical, is a nascent but potentially healthy way to improve the way we review research. They also start to show that PPPR can benefit all sorts of research. If it can work for less spectacular, negative or contradictory research, then perhaps it will shine for once in a lifetime findings (which are of course far more rare).
What do these use-cases tell us? Mostly that its early days, so meaningful observations are perhaps premature! However, here are some thoughts:
The reviewers that are being invited to the scientific conversation are participating and broadening the debate
The reviews are respectfully delivered with a straightforward tone, even when critical (probably because they are Non-Anon)
It’s good to see papers from the medical community, arguably the quintessential OA use-case for researchers, patients, their families and friends
The reviewers are appropriately matched to the content, authors can suggest up to 10 and anyone with 5 or more publications on their ORCID iD can review any content on the platform
The authors are largely, but not exclusively, from our Editorial Boards (no surprises here since they are usually the first to support a new publishing venture and are more senior so are freer to experiment)
Reading Non-Anon PPPR is a new skill requiring balancing a scholars background with their reviews and comparing/contrasting them with those of the others
None of these authors have yet used Versioning to revise their original articles in the light of reviewer feedback received (although this article is now on version 2)
Anyways, we hope you enjoy watching how PPPR at ScienceOpen evolves as much as we do! Feel free to leave a comment on this post to continue the conversation.