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Book chapter DOIs emerge as a new key tool in research discovery

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Easiest way to make a book discoverable? Equip its chapters with unique DOIs!

In order to support this conclusion, we did some number crunching on ScienceOpen. Since launching our expanded indexing services in November 2019, ScienceOpen has tracked citations to over 820,000 books and book chapters, giving us plenty of data to work with. Out of the total amount of book content, book chapters represent around 80%. Such a strong presence on the ScienceOpen platform is not a coincidence – book chapters equipped with DOIs as persistent identifiers are more easily trackable and thus become a key tool in research discovery of book publications. As researchers commonly use publication lists of books and articles as a discovery tool, chapter-level DOIs make more granular information easier to find and cite.



Across a random sample of 5341 records, over 3157 books (59%) were cited fewer or equally often as a whole, as compared to chapter-level DOIs with their chapters combined. Out of this, 653 books (12% of the total sample) appeared in the database solely thanks to their cited chapters. Finally, according to our data, books with chapter DOIs have consistently more citations, regardless of their publication date.

What are other benefits of adding chapter DOIs?

Adding a DOI to a chapter makes a record more readily available for topically specific information in the digital space, which is the starting point for scientific communication, promotion and sales. Thanks to the ScienceOpen analytic aggregation, as soon as a book chapter is cited, it is being picked up by automatic indexing services and joins a thriving platform where it can be easily found and interacted with.

Trackable citations enable following authors, book series and publishing trends. Linked chapter citations, further equipped with references, author profiles and keywords deeply connect the books to other content within the discovery environment, building a contextual cloud that encourages further exploration. This enables publishers to build an additional stream of knowledge dissemination, as well as a promotion and sales channel.

Chapter abstracts – a way to stand out

DOIs are not the only type of metadata that publishers can use to have their content noticed. Another powerful resource is an abstract. Its usefulness – both for content discoverability and scientific communication – can hardly be questioned. The availability of an abstract is often crucial to get the knowledge flowing. Yet when it comes to book chapters, including abstract metadata is not as common of a practice as one may initially guess. This is all the more surprising because arguments in favor of including abstract metadata apply universally:

  1. Works with abstracts are more discoverable.
  2. Readers are more likely to select and view content with abstracts.

After all, research discovery takes place in a particular ecosystem – the more you put in, the more you get out of it. This is why ScienceOpen encourages metadata enrichment and provides comprehensive technical support along the way.

Abstracts and DOIs – what’s in it for publishers?

ScienceOpen makes it easier to acquire physical copies of books!

On ScienceOpen, for every piece of book content, interested readers are directed to the version of record on the publisher website. For those who wish to have a hard copy of a book that they like, we have added a ‘Buy book’ button for every book.

Thanks to these features on ScienceOpen, publishers can promote, disseminate and sell their open access and copyrighted works within a broad, interdisciplinary research context. If you would like to add a full set of metadata including keywords, cover image and more, promote you books with our unique topical collections or even talk to us about chapterizing your books and adding DOIs, just reach out to the team at ScienceOpen.


Contact us

The academic book market is undergoing rapid changes with the move to digital and new open access models. With ScienceOpen, publishers can build rich metadata for their content and enter new marketing and sales channels for their book portfolios. Contact Stephanie Dawson or Stuart Cooper from the ScienceOpen team to learn more.

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