Researchers often pay substantial sums to make the results of their research freely accessible to all. But how to let potential readers know that it’s FREE? If no one reads your open access paper, it’s like buying someone a gift certificate that they never use. So, the community has agreed on this solution:
The open access symbol signals to readers that they can expect direct and unrestricted access to published scholarly works. Originally created by PLOS, it quickly gained broad usage on publisher webpages and other sites to identify open access articles. ScienceOpen displays this open access symbol on over 4 million articles.
So how does the open access symbol get there? When a publisher publishes an article, they deposit the article “metadata” – title, authors, abstract, journal, date, URL, etc. with the central DOI service Crossref. Part of the information that they can deposit is a machine-readable Creative Commons open access license. When ScienceOpen imports the metadata information about your publication, it will get an open access symbol if our computers find an open access license associated with it. If a publisher does not deposit license information, we assume that it is not open access. It’s that simple.
So what can you do?
As you put the finishing touches on your manuscript, you can check whether a potential publisher deposits license information by checking their Crossref Participation Report (Beta). If even the word “metadata” makes you want to get back into bed – try asking your librarian for support. They are experts!
If you already paid your APC and your article has no open access symbol, contact your journal or publisher directly and ask them to deposit your license information with Crossref or get in touch with ScienceOpen directly. As a special offer until the end of the year, ScienceOpen will update publisher content for free. If a publisher lets us know that they have added license information or abstracts to their Crossref metadata, we will upgrade those records in the ScienceOpen discovery environment.
Open Access: More than a free pdf
Big data, text mining, machine learning, artificial intelligence – these are the trends in scholarly communication that are shaping the future already. Your open access article is not only free for humans to read, but also for computers. Computers don’t care about impact factors, they care about structured information. They can uncover fascinating connections on the basis of your research. But only if the computer understands that it has permission to read your article – hence the importance of a machine-readable Creative Commons license. You paid your APC so make sure that you get the best possible digital distribution. Celebrate this Open Access Week by making sure you get your open access symbol!
The Open Science Stars series has been one of the most pleasurable aspects for me of working at ScienceOpen, seeing the great diversity of researchers all around the world working to make science a better field to be in. For the latest, we spoke with Chris Hartgerink, a PhD student at Tilburg University in the Netherlands. Chris has a strong background in open research practices, and is a prolific member of the data mining community. Here’s his story!
When did you first hear about ‘open science’? What was your first reaction, do you remember?
I first heard about Open Science in late 2012/early 2013 during my Masters. My then supervisor (Jelte Wicherts) said to me, “Let’s put all this online”, and I remember thinking this seemed so obvious but that I simply hadn’t considered it before – nor had I been taught about this during my education. This helped multiple puzzle pieces to fall into place. Since then transparent research has been central to all that I do. I also remember asking myself how to do this because it is non-trivial if you simply know nothing about it, and it has been a gradual process since then learning how to share in an easy-to-comprehend way. But it doesn’t have to be perfect from the beginning because open science is more a way of approaching science than it is a checkmark.
What has inspired your dedication to open research? What sort of things do you do on a daily basis to commit to this?
To be honest, what you call dedication is an ethical responsibility in my eyes. The old, opaque way of doing science is based on the analogue age with severely outdated standards. This is irresponsible, just like a current-day astronomer using Galileo’s antique telescope would be irresponsible. This antique telescope gives relatively imprecise measures compared to modern telescopes, so nobody would pay attention to new results based on it. I don’t think the science done with the antique telescope in the old days is invalid, I just think we have to build on the old, create the new, and then use the new. Closed research, as you might call it, is stuck in the old. I would even go so far to say that such unnecessarily (!) closed research obfuscates science and can be deemed pseudo-science. I hardly pay attention to new research that is unverifiable.
The old, opaque way of doing science is based on the analogue age with severely outdated standards.
By the way, when I say irresponsible, I mean irresponsible to others and to yourself. Our work is complex and making your work shareable and understandable to others helps others to understand what you did – including your future self. Transparent research has saved my skin repeatedly.
Today, we are pleased to announce that ScienceOpen hit the 20 million article record! In fact, it’s still climbing even as this is being written. This is thanks to what we call our ‘aggregation’ engine, which takes published research articles from any field, and applies a little bit of magic to them to open up their context and let us all do amazing things, such as find similar articles, post-publication peer review them, and trace their citation genealogies.
I asked Alexander Grossmann, professor of publishing and co-founder of ScienceOpen, what this milestone means to him and to open science more broadly.
ScienceOpen Collections are thematic groups of research articles that transcend journals and publishers to transform how we collate and build upon scientific knowledge.
What are Collections
The modern research environment is a hyper-dimensional space with a vast quantity of outputs that are impossible to manually manage. You can think of research like a giant Rubik’s cube: you have different ‘colours’ of research that you have to mix and match and play around with to discover how the different sections fit together to become something useful.
We view Collections as the individual faces of a Rubik’s cube. They draw from the vast, and often messy, pool of published research to provide an additional layer of context and clarity. They represent a new way for researchers to filter the published record to discover and curate content that is directly relevant to them, irrespective of who published it or what journal it appears in.
Advantages of Collections
Perhaps the main advantage of Collections to researchers is that they are independent of journals or publishers and their branding criteria. Researchers are undoubtedly the best-placed to assess what research is relevant to themselves and their communities. As such, we see Collections as the natural continuing transformation of the concept of the modern journal, acting in almost full cycle to return them to their basic principles.
The advantage of using Collections is that they provide researchers with the power to filter and select from the published record and create what is in essence a highly-specialised virtual journal. This means that Collections are not pre-selective, but instead comprise papers discriminated only by a single criterion: research that is relevant to your peers, and also deemed relevant by them.
Filtering for Collections occurs at different levels depending on scope or complexity of research. For example, Collections can be designed to focus on different research topics, lab groups or research groups, communities, or even departments or institutions. Collections can also be created for specific conferences and include posters from these, published on ScienceOpen. Youdefine the scope and the selection criteria.