Hello there, and Happy New Year from the new Communications Director of ScienceOpen!
My name’s Jon, and I’m currently finishing up my PhD at Imperial College London, where I’m a palaeontologist! (think Ross from Friends..) This year, I’ve been fortunate enough to join the ScienceOpen team to help grow their communications and networking abilities, and continue to realise the benefits of their pretty cool open research networking platform.
Those of you who know me will be aware that open access and more broadly, open science and communications, is something that I’ve been quite active in over my short career as a researcher. Some of the more ‘open-related’ projects I’ve been involved with include the writing of the Open Research Glossary, as well as challenging the AAAS on non-optimal publishing practices. For those of you lucky enough not to have met me yet, I’m highly interested in a whole array of factors that influence scholarly communication, including:
Publishing and disruptive technologies and innovation
Access to raw data and reproducibility
Community building and the power of social networks
Social media for researchers
Science communication, public engagement and outreach
Academic assessment and altmetrics
I’ll be taking over the reins from Liz Allen, who will shortly announce her new non-profit role. Rest assured that she will continue to spread the word about the importance of open. On behalf of the ScienceOpen team, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Liz for helping to establish our brand and offering her personal support as I get up to speed with the nuances of the job. Over the next few months (and onwards), I hope to help to raise awareness of what ScienceOpen does, and why it should be part of the essential toolkit for researchers, along with a host of other innovative applications that are bringing research into the digital age.
Why ScienceOpen? Well, apart from the obvious name, I support their ideals that science deserves to be open, transparent, and equal in every way. This essentially is the inverse of the traditional method of scholarly communication of publishing via journals, which are closed, opaque, and beset by inequalities on all fronts, the foremost being financial. ScienceOpen offers a valuable service that doesn’t replace traditional publishing, but compliments it through having a community aspect of driving open peer review, which is still the golden standard of acceptability for published research. Combine this with a hefty archive of both open and non-open research articles, and you have a valuable platform for developing research networks and building upon the published literature in an open, transparent, and community-driven way. For me, this is just one of the many ways in which the way we conduct research and disseminate those results is changing for the better, by harnessing the power of the Web and the opportunities it gives us for greater inter-operability throughout academia.
Alongside my activities here, I’ll be continuing my research and finishing the dreaded thesis, as well my science communication activities, in particular for the PLOS Paleo network which is great fun! So essentially combining my three favourite things: research, science communication, and open science policy and communications. Yay!
You can contact me on Twitter, or drop me an email if you wish. I look forward to working with ScienceOpen, and with them the global research community!
Following well received news earlier this week that we have enabled content filtering (over 10 million articles and records) on ScienceOpen by Altmetric scores (which measure social and mainstream media attention) and Citations, we’re delighted to share this convo between Euan (Altmetric) and Stephanie (ScienceOpen).
Euan: ScienceOpen is beginning to show up on our radar as a content aggregator. What is your goal with ScienceOpen and where are you heading?
Stephanie: Our goal has always been more open scholarly communication.
ScienceOpen is a freely accessible network for aggregating, sharing, and evaluating research information with over 10 million Open Access articles and bibliographic records. Moving forward our focus is on exposing the context of scholarly content. Powerful search and filtering tools, including the first publically available citation index and now the article Altmetric score, will help researchers rapidly find the literature they need.
Altmetric is also an information aggregator and has strongly influenced the debate on how to measure research impact. Altmetric is highlighting the benefits of Open Access in terms of increased attention by the scholarly community. I think it was at a conference coffee break when we talked about how it would be great to be able to search and filter by Altmetric score and now here we are – natural partners!
Euan: What first got you interested in altmetrics and why were you keen to add the Altmetric badges to the site?
At ScienceOpen, the individual research article is always at the center of what we develop. The Altmetric score provides unique insight into the quality and quantity of attention that a scholarly article has received. If citations represent the geneology of an idea, altmetrics tracks its dissemination. Together they give a fuller picture of the “impact” of an article – a tricky category but a worthwhile goal.
By making search results filterable by both citation numbers and Altmetric score, we can provide researchers with different entryways into the data – and that in and of itself may generate new ideas. That is why we were so interested in including the Altmetric badges on the site.
And of course we love the rainbow donuts!
Euan: How do you think that authors or researchers can make best use of your platform?
In three main ways.
It’s a great discovery resource. A search on ScienceOpen does not just pull up a list of article records, but rather a network of information. Topics and articles can be explored via authors, references, keywords, altmetrics, comments and more. Results can be narrowed and sorted and the search parameters saved. Most importantly, the research itself is center stage independent of publisher and journal. We strive to expose as much context for the research on our site as possible.
All content on the platform is available for Post-Publication Peer Review by scientific members with five or more peer-reviewed publications on their ORCID which helps maintain a high standard of discourse. Our larger goals here are to speed up the communication of science by moving its evaluation to after publication, to eliminate anonymity in the interests of transparency and to ensure that the conversation around science never ends. From our perspective, quality assurance does not end at the moment of publication.
ScienceOpen also appoints members of the research community to the role of Collection Editor and they curate articles from multiple publishers in any topic using a Collection tool. The big picture here is to complement the topical bundling done by individual journals and publishers with flexible post-publication collections across all scientific knowledge. The best papers can be included, regardless of whether published on a pre-print server or top journal. In this way we can support of the values espoused by DORA by developing alternatives to the Impact Factor.
Euan: On the technical side, the content you host – could you tell us where it comes from, and how much we’re talking about in terms of volume?
Our platform currently consists of over 10 million articles and records. We have imported to-date 950K full text Open Access articles from PubMed Central and roughly 830K records from arXiv. The additional roughly 8 million bibliographic records are extracted from the references within the full text content. We have started updating the records with the full metadata from external sources (currently PubMed ORCID) for better usability of the content. We also compare the references to ensure that we have good matching so we can merge reference data to create our citation index.
Euan: Where will site visitors be able to find the badges/what can they expect to see?
Researchers will find the Altmetric badge both on the search results page, where they can filter their search by Altmetric score to find the most talked-about paper in their field, as well as on each individual article page as part of the article metrics. When researchers have landed on a paper of interest, they can drill down to find out exactly what aspect of the research people are talking about. The score itself is just a starting point to discover more and we would hope that researchers would treat it critically as with any metric.
As we continue to develop the site we may find unique ways to present the Altmetric score such as an aggregated Altmetric score for collections.
Euan: Do you offer any other article level metrics?
We are committed to providing as much context to an article as possible and article level metrics are central to this mission. On each article page we have a summary box that displays reader numbers on ScienceOpen, citations, post-publication reviews, comments, recommendations and shares.
Search results from within the 10 million articles and records on the site can be filtered by reader count, review rating and, most recently, number of citations.
We have taken the first steps towards a publically available citation index, something that the scientific community truly needs. Researchers can sort their search results by citation number, view the reference list sorted by citation and see other articles by same author, with more contextual information to come. These citation numbers are correct (in a relative not an absolute sense) and can be very useful together with the Altmetric badge to quickly sort articles based on attention by the scientific community.
Euan: Would you like a Donut?
I don’t mind if I do. By return, here’s a 41 second video “How to filter your search by Altmetric” complete with groovy Berlin Techno soundtrack (nice going Dan Cook!).
I am the Co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer, ScienceOpen (@tigracc). This OA Week, it gives me great pleasure to publish the first in a series of posts about the strategy behind the evolution of the platform and our drive to reveal the context of OA articles which we believe is a powerful and disruptive mechanism in the next wave of the OA movement.
When ScienceOpen started our Open Access initiative in 2013, we focused on publishing and networking. We understood that research communication is all about Open Access content and networking was the mechanism that supported authors in preparing their article and helping the publication of their research. And such articles had to be openly available, so they could be discovered and serve as proof of their engagement.
We of course also knew that other organizations offered a great deal but all these features were available as bits and pieces on other publisher’s sites (Post-Publication-peer-review, “speedy publication after a thorough but fast editorial acceptance, among others), but not in one place and not combined. We felt there was far too much focus on vanity and luxury at the core of the publishing process, instead of support for researchers who need to understand what others before them have done and deliver their contribution, that could and would be incorporated into the ever growing corpus of knowledge. Researchers are builders and breakthroughs are the result of collaboration over time. Ingenious ideas need a base to evolve from and – less eloquently said then Newton and some others before – there’s no genius who doesn’t stand on the shoulders of others before them.
Along the way, we recognized some thresholds and obstacles slowing down the migration to Open Access and they were greater then we initially anticipated. We were always aware of the Impact Factor trap, fostering the illusion that it provides a glorious, if sometimes miraculous, entry into the higher echelons of science, but we also knew that it was based on a hollow foundation.
Over time, we learned to see this entire conundrum from the viewpoint of the individual researcher. She does not have the luxury of statistics, it’s all about her research, her fight for her career and as long as institutions use these as a major tool for gratification, it is the researchers de facto trap of our time. There’s not much difficulty asking established scientists to publish Open Access and similarly offering services to young scientists, especially by providing a home for posters and the like, is easy. But the mass of scientists, too young to be settled and too old to take a risk, is a different animal.
We do see them (slowly) turning to Open Access but, somewhat alarmingly, we see them doing that with traditional publishers like Springer Nature, PLOS, Wiley and others, than with new and “revolutionary” ones . Why? Because those settled publishers provide Brands and for the time being IFs, that the researchers can present. They are taking a step in the right direction, just a more expensive and challenging one than it needs to be. There’s no blame here and there are a few ways we can press forward: we can ask tenure commissions, research funders and institutions to stop considering brand-related impact factors and start seriously focusing on the articles themselves, and we will continue to do so together with the core of the Open Access movement. While this trend is further eroding the base of the Impact Factor illusion it’s not really razing it to the ground.
So, is that it? We just wait another 10 to 15 years till the Impact Factor starts to wither and hope that we win out on the long run?
Instead of doing just that, we need to go forward by continuous development of (a) new publishing paradigm(s) and we need to start to show the (currently hidden) additional benefits of Open Access. Benefits which are transcending the “article” and start to expose a glimpse of the new eco-system, which can flourish with this opening.
We see three pillars for ScienceOpen to focus on, all of them geared to help create an eco-system,which inherently weakens the Impact Factor and therefore helps to direct energy and momentum to Open Access:
Here’s what we set out to acheive:
Put the article at the center (independent of publisher, journal and other silos)
Expose all available article based information (activities, reviews, comments, …)
Provide as much context as we can (references and citations)
This strand is the newest addition to the ScienceOpen platform. Just recently we started to expose contextual information on the more than 10 million articles and records aggregated on ScienceOpen. We did this by consecutively creating stubs for all referenced articles from the base Open Access corpus. Adding more and more publicly available but distributed information about these articles and extracting additional facts, we can already expose the connections of almost 6 million authors mainly in Life Sciences. We do provide information about similar articles, most cited references, most referenced authors and all detected citations. This, like other available metadata, can be used to navigate, research and learn about the context of a given article. Given that our article base is publisher and journal independent, all this context becomes meaningful and turns the whole article base itself into a research object, at the fingertips of the researcher. All this information is revolving around the core content instead of arbitrary segments like the publisher. We allow you to focus on the research itself, to explore related information, people and institutions. Go on and find out who else is researching about the field in question, which connections are more meaningful than others, what collaborations exist etc.
Months ago we started to support and propagate the usage of Collections. We see Collections as a way to create theme-based and up to date clusters of information that matter most for any specific field of research. These being journal and publisher independent and as such another nail in the coffin for the Impact Factor. I don’t believe that any Journal can be a better collection on any theme, than one that is based from a researchers selection from the universe of content. Our Collections can and will expose different aspects of a topic– foundation articles, most discussed ones, etc. – and can therefore become a natural magnet for publishing negative results where they make most sense.
Since the launch of ScienceOpen, we have worked on providing a platform that lends itself to the concept of Public Post Publication Peer Review (P4R), an approach that helps to attack one of THE corner stones of the Closed Access Publishing Paradigm: the use of enormous energy from the research community for an almost always secretive peer review process with the main purpose of utilizing selection to improve the Impact Factor of a journal. Besides the price of suppression of less glamorous results (including negative results) and/or slowing down the publishing process to an unacceptable degree and all the costs for society this generates, traditional peer review hampers public discourse and is bad for science. Instead P4R speeds up publication, fosters public discourse and allows the reviewer to benefit from their (now public) work.
We strongly believe, that the set of these activities is invigorating the the strength of the Open Access paradigm. ScienceOpen is committed to work on all three of these strands to expose more of the inherent strength of Open Access. Over the course of the next weeks and months we will discuss these activities in more detail and add more functionality along these lines.
Publishers can join in by indexing their journal content across all research disciplines (now including the humanities and social sciences) and license types on ScienceOpen for enhanced visibility within a wider academic context. This unique service is open for all researchers worldwide and will be launched at the Frankfurt Book Fair this week.
Since its launch in 2014, ScienceOpen has exponentially grown its database to allow researchers to more easily navigate, search and comment on scientific articles. A search on ScienceOpen does not just pull up a list of article records, but rather a network of information.
Topics and articles can be explored via authors, references, keywords, altmetrics, comments and more. Results can be narrowed and sorted and the search parameters saved. Content – popping up in the context of such search & navigation – is pulled center stage independent of publisher and journal.
Stephanie Dawson, CEO of ScienceOpen says:
All these features provide a superior search experience for researchers and advantages for publishers in having their content and brand promoted. With this new offering, we are expanding Open Access to indexing information at the point of (re)search.
The ScienceOpen network is freely accessible for researchers to join, search, discover and share. This new feature will be introduced at the Frankfurt Book Fair (FFBF) this week, the world largest event for academic publishers worldwide. Talk to our team in and around Hall 4 at the FFBF to learn how to include your concent and benefit from this fast growing index.
Life in California is good. Truthfully, that’s an understatement. As an ex-pat Brit, it’s great. Public holidays are rarely marred by rain; tomatoes grow outdoors (as do Oranges and Avocados); every work day is “casual Friday”.
There’s really only one downside, and that’s our time zone which means that in terms of the global conversation, we are constantly last to the party!
And so it goes with the first ever Peer Review Week. As the “lady at the helm” for social media, it’s lunchtime here in San Francisco and I am frantically trying to catch up with all the stories that everyone else has already posted.
Rather than give you an exhaustive list of the conversations and coverage, which you can see for yourself from #peerrevwk15, I am going to highlight a few that particularly stood out from me.
Listen to this podcast by Chris O’Neil from Bioscientifica which begins with a truism “none of us like the peer review process”! He goes onto explain that despite this visceral reaction, that most researchers accept that their article is improved by it.
What do we hope to achieve at this year’s COASP meeting? Stephanie (our CEO) would like to chat with as many of our fellow publishers as possible about how you, like Thieme, can use our platform to raise the visibility of the OA research that you publish even further, which is of benefit to your authors and their careers.
As some, but not all, of you know, ScienceOpen has developed a Collections Tool which allows Community Editors to curate articles from any OA publisher in any way they choose.
We offer a safe and legal networking option for encouraging conversation around content, that complies with publisher policies. ScienceOpen invites those attending COASP to find Stephanie (@SDawsonBerlin) and get involved!
Peer review – the evaluation of scientific, academic, or professional work by others working in the same field – lies at the heart of scholarly communication.
At its best, Peer Review is a rigorous analysis with the aim of improving either the article itself or the science behind it and frequently both. At its worst, peer review is an obstacle course, that appears engineered to prevent publication or at best delay it by months, or even years!
This dichotomy of author experience plus the ever increasing publicity attached to retractions are both real issues in terms of faith in the process itself and public trust in science. It seems prudent then that we should act in a cohesive manner to see what improvements can be made whilst still acknowledging the important role that Peer Review plays.
Peer Review Week grew out of informal conversations between ORCID, ScienceOpen, and Wiley. Each organization has a different perspective on peer review, and has been working independently to better support its role in scholarly communications. Joining forces enables all three organizations to share their central message – that good peer review, whatever shape or form it might take, is critical to scholarly communications – more widely and powerfully. Sense About Science has joined the week to ensure the wider benefits of peer review – as a quality mark and tool for making sense of science claims – are shared with the public.
Our informal partnership will promote the first ever Peer Review Week, from Monday 9.28 thru Friday 10.2.
During this time we’ll be sharing stories, videos, participating in a Webinar on Trust and Transparency in Peer Review (Kent Anderson, Alexander Grossmann, Laure Haak, Andrew Preston and Verity Brown) and a Twitter campaign with the hashtag #peerrevwk15. We also invite other orgnanizations working in this space, such as The Winnower; PeerJ; F1000Research; BMC; Publons; PubPeer; and more to participate in this virtual campaign.
Here’s our position on peer review at ScienceOpen and we know that everyone doesn’t agree with us!
Our goal is to augment trust in the peer review process by making it entirely transparent. We facilitate Post-Publication Peer Review from named individual experts with 5 or more peer-reviewed publications listed on their ORCID to nearly 10 million open access articles and toll stubs currently available on the platform. We’re delighted to support this inaugural Peer Review Week.
Here’s some interesting news, Stephanie (our CEO) is in Shanghai, China. She went at the invitation of Shing Jiao Tong University Press in their organizing role for the Third International Academic Publishing Forum on August 19th, held during the Shanghai Book Fair (Aug. 19-25).
All I can say is lucky her! It’s a huge privilege and honor to attend such an event in such a historic city.
The forum is hosted by the Association of Chinese University Presses, Shanghai Press & Publication Administration, and Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Topics to be discussed include:
Trends of International Academic and Professional Publishing;
Strengthening Co-operation between Chinese and International Publishers;
New Governmental Support for “China Book International” Program;
Identifying Needs of Chinese Academic Community and Libraries
Those participating in the discussions include state administration officials, leaders from major Chinese publishing houses, libraries and top scholars. International publishers including Nature, Cambridge University Press, Sage and Routledge have also been invited.
Stephanie will be presenting a paper she wrote (hopefully to be published in the Journal of Chinese Editors) on rethinking scientific publishing in an era when “Sharing rather than ownership is the new normal for the upcoming generation of open researchers“.
We couldn’t resist using this photo to illustrate the news that we have just added the openly available content (which can be quite basic) from 2.5 million toll access articles to ScienceOpen. This number will rise over the next few days until we have a total of approx. 10 million articles on the platform.
The finger on the left represents the 1.6 million Open Access (OA) articles which were on the platform yesterday. It can be seen warmly embracing the skeptical subscription finger on the right!
For those of you who are wondering how we did this, we traced the references of the OA articles we already hosted back to their roots and added their title and author information plus the abstract if available. If you are contemplating how these two unlikely bedfellows are going to get along and why we would bother trying to force this relationship, let us explain.
The current situation is that despite huge efforts by publishers such as PLOS, BMC and many who have come after them, the percentage of Gold OA content is below 15% of the total published in a year. The reality of life as a researcher is that they need keep up with the latest work regardless of whether it is openly communicated or not. In the interests of utility, we wanted to unite the universe of research in one place, even if, sadly, it is not all yet fully available to read, re-use and mine.
Tracking the references of OA articles showed us which articles have been cited and how often, without needing to purchase access to expensive and proprietary databases! For each article, we are now able to show how many articles elsewhere refer to it. Moreover we can track real time social media coverage (Twitter, Google+, Mendeley and others). By searching ScienceOpen, users can now quickly find articles with the most citations or article impact in any discipline. A click on the number of citations shows all the citing articles and their own citations, and so on. We also provide all openly available author information.
Here’s what co-founder Alexander Grossmann said about this latest release:
When I first thought about the concept of ScienceOpen about 3 years ago, I had this exact vision in mind. It is terrific to see it come to life now and I hope that researchers will find it useful in their daily lives. As research steadily becomes more open, I believe that the significance of what we have built will become clearer.
This next iteration of ScienceOpen brings us closer to the goal of unlocking the true promise of knowledge in the following ways:
1. By juxtaposing open and closed content (and having previously added user tools such as the ability to curate article Collections), we hope to remind researchers how much value is lost when they choose to publish in a toll environment. Community Editors can combine any selection of articles together in a Collection but their audience can only read those that are open.
2. By providing Collections as an alternative to journals from large publishers with their associated Impact Factors, we hope to catalyze the change initiated by DORA and realign the balance of power towards the researcher.
3. By believing that the future of scholarly communication lies beyond the journal, even beyond the article and that research will gradually become more open, we hope to be one of the first sites that is positioned to encourage the adoption of text mining and other tools that help explore connections between the literature.
4. By adding metrics to every article, and allowing users to sort and filter content based on them (or other criteria that they pick), the different usage patterns of OA content will become more apparent and the benefits of picking it will be clearer.
These features are the first of many in what we hope will be an iterative process of improvements in response to user feedback. Please do tell us what you think via Twitter, Facebook or by commenting on this post.
In the field of publishing and open access, there’s a surplus of excellent reports to read and digest. One that I make time to read each year is from Outsell Inc and is entitled “Open Access: Market Size, Share, Forecast, and Trends”. You can find their 2015 report here.
It goes without saying that we were delighted to be featured in the “10 to watch” section of the report and the final paragraph of their write up was particularly pleasing:
ScienceOpen [It] is a creative and simple structure with impressive editorial and advisory boards, but marketing has been minimal, unlike with other OA-related publications or publishers. With increased press exposure and marketing by means other than social media, SO can be a top-tier publication.
Outsell’s inclusion criteria for this section are as follows: “We expect the actions of the following 10 companies and organizations, some already active participants and some emerging as a result of open access, to have an impact on the market going forward”.
Figure 1 of the report is also well worth examining since it shows that the early heady days of growth in OA revenue have disappeared to be replaced by a steadier rate of 15%. To set this performance in context, it’s worth knowing that the STM market generated $26.2 billion and the journals market $6.8 billion last year!
Here’s what Liz Allen, our VP of Marketing said about the analyst’s observations:
To be included in this top 10 list after just over a year in operation and with a small marketing budget is very gratifying. It really does demonstrate the power of social media to reach into certain communities but these are largely ones that have an inherent interest in all matters “open” and are responsive to our approach. The next step is to reach beyond this group and continue to show the benefits of a democratic approach to knowledge sharing and conversely to illustrate what is not possible when knowledge is closed.
And the good news will continue – watch this space for further announcements coming soon!