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Author: Elizabeth Allen

In:  Collections  

Thieme expands cooperation

Image credit: Frankfurter Spargel by Martin Fisch, CC BY
Image credit: Frankfurter Spargel by Martin Fisch, CC BY

Welcome Endoscopy International Open (EIO) to ScienceOpen!

EIO is an exciting young Open Access journal covering the gastrointestinal field and published by the award-winning international medical and science publisher Thieme. EIO joins two other Thieme journals (the American Journal of Perinatology Reports and The Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgeons Reports) that already have collections on our platform.

Open Access means sharing essential scientific and medical knowledge as widely as possible and ScienceOpen is taking up this challenge to help authors and publishers get added visibility for their work. These articles are available for commenting, sharing, and Post-Publication Peer Review (PPPR), by experts with 5 publications on their ORCID on ScienceOpen.  Every review receives a CrossRef DOI so each contribution can be found and cited which gives credit to the important work of reviewers, too.

CEO Stephanie Dawson has worked extensively on this pilot program with Thieme, specifically Frauke Gisela Ralf, Vice President of Open Access and Fiona Henderson, Director International Marketing. Here are Stephanie’s thoughts about the benefits of highlighting OA journals using the Collections tool on ScienceOpen:

“As a research article aggregator (peer-review reformer and publisher) we have brought together open and toll access content to demonstrate how nearly 10 million articles can be pulled together in different ways using our article collection tool with the goal of amplifying the best research results. One method is for a publisher to re-create a journal or highlight their best content on the platform, another is for a Society or individual community member to draw together papers in their area of research specialization or around a theme such as scholarly communication. The digital age offers unlimited permutations of content mash-ups and gives a voice to those with a story to tell, be they a publisher, a society or an individual community member.”

We are naturally delighted that Thieme Publishers have expanded their cooperation with us and look forward to speaking with other publishers at the Frankfurt Book Fair which this year runs from 14-18th October to see what we can do for them.

In:  Guest Blog  

Why OA is important to students – and why they are important to OA!

Green cars outside Berlin by Michael Caven, Flickr, CC BY

Yesterday, we were delighted to welcome student Peter Grabitz as an intern to the Berlin office. Peter is a former project coordinator at the European Students Conference (ESC) organized for 26 years by Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, which attracts 400 students annually.  A warm welcome to Peter and his first blog post which offers his perspective on the importance of Open Access (OA) to students. As Peter says at the end of his post:

The responsibility for OA education lies with the younger generation. None of us has ever had the experience of sitting down with our grandparents while they explain the significance of Twitter or Facebook! When it comes to innovations and new technologies it is most often the younger generation that is the driving force to change. And so it is up to us to sit down with our professors and explain the groundbreaking advantages of new communication methods in scientific publishing. We grew up with this stuff, they did not.

A few Fridays ago I met Ruben on a friend’s birthday party. Currently doing a PhD and with a looming deadline, he was only there to say hello and leave a gift. He wouldn’t have been on such a tight schedule, if there was an easy and affordable way to access all the articles he needed. His University is quite small and doesn’t offer many journal subscriptions so he was hitting paywall after paywall, He nearly gave up before he really began.

The solution? He asked a friend who studies in a bigger University in the same city for his library password and finally he had the access he needed.

But… is this really the solution and what lies at the heart of this problem?

The current scientific publishing system made sense back in the time of Descartes at the beginning of the Enlightment when research began and findings needed to be shared publically instead of via letter. Interesting results were bundled and published regularly and the very first journals arrived. Publishers created a way to bring research to the people.

With the amount of submitted articles rising, publishers asked the most renowned researchers in the field to give their opinion on the relevance and methodology of the articles to decide which ones to publish which today we know as Peer Review.

The first difficulties became apparent in the late 20th century in what was called the “Serial Crisis”, Libraries and Universities couldn’t afford subscriptions to the ever growing number of crucial journals. Journal price inflation outpaced library subscription budgets and cuts in institutional funding. The only remedy: less serial subscriptions to balance the budget.

Publishing was shaken up again when Sir Tim Berners-Lee thought it would be great to start a global network connecting millions of computers – the internet. Spreading information became as easy as one click. One of the only fields that was slow to adopt to the internet was scientific publishing. With a margin of up to 36%, publishers continue to drain money out of the research system and are use draconian copyright restrictions and paywalls to block society from reading and using research results.

In 2001 a group of people dedicated to change this system met in Budapest and signed the Budapest Open Access Initiative. So why do I care about it?

  1. Ruben’s story is not the only one like this. All around the world, there are students not gaining access to the latest results in their field of study. And it is not only students. It is also their professors. How can you teach something you are not even able to read? Open Access gives equal opportunities to every student, regardless of whether he or she is affiliated to a small or big, British, German, Gambian, Malaysian or no university at all! Open Access empowers everyone!
  2. It is good for you and for your research. Because, as Björn Brembs puts it: “Glamour is nothing if nobody reads you.” By now it has been scientifically proven: publishing your research OA gives you more citations. More people read you. Your impact is higher, even without the dreaded Impact Factor.
  3. The importance of OA goes even further. It directly translates into better patient care by ensuring a medical education that reflects the current results of research and the state of the art. OA makes information on drug safety and treatment effectiveness available to literally anyone. It brings the latest results in research directly to the patients’ bedside.

The importance is clear. But: what can we do to support OA as students?

  • Read, read, read the OA literature. Encourage others to do so too.
  • Join the OA community. For example, the Right to Research Coalition are seriously amazing! Anyone can learn a lot from their experience by going to one of their Conferences
  • Be a role Model. Publish OA yourself! If you do it with ScienceOpen, or any of the newer OA venues, it’s quick, easy and more affordable than ever
  • Become an ambassador. Ask your professor and coworkers in the lab to publish OA. Articles, Data and Software. Even though you might receive negative answers, like these, don’t give up and be persistent
  • Become an advocate. Ask yourself, is there a Repository at your university? What OA strategy has your university adopted? Is there one? Who is responsible for it?
  • Educate and raise awareness. There are many opportunities to raise the topic of Open Science. For example, start an event during OA-Week!

The big question isn’t IF Open Access will take over, but WHEN it will do so. As Alexander Grossmann, co-founder of ScienceOpen, puts it: “both the visibility and acceptance of OA concepts among the scholarly community worldwide needs to be increased”

If not students…who else?

The responsibility for educating about OA lies with the younger generation. None of us has ever had the experience of sitting down with our grandparents while they explain the significance of Twitter or Facebook! When it comes to innovations and new technologies it is most often the younger generation that is the driving force to change. And so it is up to us to sit down with our professors and explain the groundbreaking advantages of new communication methods in scientific publishing. We grew up with this stuff, they did not.

It is our responsibility to find a better solution to the problem than Ruben did. It is our responsibility to shape a new publishing system in scientific research that will be effective, innovative and most certainly: open.

 

In:  Announcements  

Invitation to Shanghai and the growth of Chinese OA

Image credit: Yuyuan Garden, Shanghai, bfick, Flickr, CC BY
Image credit: Yuyuan Garden, Shanghai, bfick, Flickr, CC BY

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“.

It’s encouraging to observe the support for Open Access in China expressed in the Nature/Palgrave Macmillan Annual Author Insights Survey which had responses from 22,000 authors:

  • Chinese authors are much more likely to receive support to publish their research via open access (OA) than their global colleagues and an increasing proportion are choosing to do so exclusively.
  • 92% of Chinese researchers who took part had sufficient funds to publish their research in OA journals, substantially higher than the global average 68% of researchers from the rest of the world.
  • 20% of Chinese authors report having published exclusively in OA journals in the last 3 years.

There’s also plenty of reading for Stephanie to do during her trip! There‘s a piece on China on the Global Open Access Portal and another from BMC entitled “A window on Open Access publishing in China“. Finally, this paper Development of open access in China: strategies, practices, challenges in the journal Insights by Xialon Zhang from the National Science Library, Chinese Academy of Sciences

We can’t wait to hear all about her visit either during it (if that’s technically possible) or afterwards.

In:  Announcements  

United here – open and toll access research

Image credit: Hugs are healing by Ganesha.isis, Flickr, CC BY

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.

615dde79e20c587505988311d1194b1d_400x400
Professor Dr Alexander Grossmann, President, ScienceOpen Berlin – Boston

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.

 

 

 

It’s the Summer of Love (for Posters) – vote for your favorite!

Haight – Ashbury by Doug Wertman, Flickr, CC-BY

What’s not to love about this quintessentially San Francisco photo? As some of you know, ScienceOpen has offices in Berlin, Boston and San Francisco.

It has a “rainbow” feel, appropriate for the recent US legal ruling on marriage equality. Ben and Jerry’s carries a brand of ice-cream named Cherry Garcia after the late Jerry, lead guitarist of the Grateful Dead, founded in 1965 in California. And of course, the corner of Haight and Ashbury is the epicenter of the Summer of Love, a social phenomenon that occurred during the summer of 1967, when as many as 100,000 people converged on this neighborhood in San Francisco. All these facts I have learned since living here and becoming a citizen (required knowledge to pass the test!).

For all you Earlier Career Researchers (and those who mentor them) who are currently on Summer Break but are almost certainly still working and have published a poster with us, here’s an opportunity to activate your social media networks and win yourself a $150 Amazon Gift Card!

Here’s how this competition works:

  • Make sure that you have published a poster with us.  Any name on the author list counts
  • Promote your poster on social media, ask your network to vote for your poster by giving it a +1
  • If you are active on Twitter, remember to include @Science_Open in your tweet
  • The poster with the most recommendations wins and each author receives a $150 Amazon giftcard

This competition will remain open from 11am PST July 6th until 11am PST August 31st and the winner will be announced on September 1st 2015.

For those of you who are new to the concept of digital posters, you can find out more here. At ScienceOpen we publish them for FREE – your entry receives a DOI so that it can be found and cited plus it lives on long after the conference is over.

Sounds like a sweet summer offer to us!

 

In:  Collections  

New Global Health Article Collection from GHNGN now published – #review4GH!

ScienceOpen, the research and Open Access publishing network are delighted to announce that, together with partners The Global Health Next Generation Network (GHNGN) – a multidisciplinary group that strengthens the voice of students and young professionals in this field and encourages them to share scientific knowledge, today we have published a new Global Health article collection.

The objective of this Collection, is to encourage discussion on different topics in this field such as female genital mutilation, primary care in developing states and Epidemiology in Latin America and the Carribean.  We want to encourage the global health community to start an interactive conversation around this original and previously published research by participating in Post-Publication Peer Review (PPPR) which is a key part of the ScienceOpen service. Here’s a short video that explains how.

We have a meme and hashtags “#review4GH” and “#ScienceOpen4GH” to encourage others to participate in the online dialogue. The topics covered are complex and difficult but as a group that represents the future leaders of tomorrow’s global health world, the GHNGN are using social media to encourage their membership and beyond, to take part.

reviewit

The publication of this Collection is timely given their imminent 2nd International Conference in Barcelona on June 25th. They will be sharing their experiences of working with ScienceOpen on this Collection with those attending and encouraging them to add their articles to it so the Collection continues to live and grow. gh

The reason that they chose to forge a closer relationship with ScienceOpen is because of our active support of Earlier Career Researchers and the fact that we conveniently combine 3 services on one platform namely:

  1. Gold Open Access (OA) publishing – articles that are freely available to read and re-use
  2. Non-Anonymous Post-Publication Peer Review – for the most transparent feedback
  3. OA content aggregation – making it easier to browse and re-use the literature, regardless of publisher

For further information on this Collection please email Joceline Kranenburg, Partnership coordinator, GHNGN.

In:  Collections  

Update for the growing number of Collection Editors – spiffy new features!

before
Before and after, Jennifer Donley, Flickr, CC-BY

At ScienceOpen, we’re pretty pleased with how Collections, which uniquely feature articles from multiple OA publishers chosen by a researcher based on their interests, are shaping up.

We have published eight so far and many more are in the works. Thanks to all of you who took the plunge and got involved. Leading by example is so important if we are to bring real and lasting change to scientific communication.

Here are a few enhancements to make life as a Collection Editor that bit easier. Naturally you can still use our search engine (powered by elastic, not literally!) of over 1.5 million OA articles to find relevant content and add it to the Collection. Although now the process of selecting what goes into your Collection has been improved by the addition of Altmetrics to all articles. In terms of giving you more control, we’ve also introduced a drag and drop feature so that you can arrange your article choices in whatever order you like.

In terms of the more fun parts of being a Collection Editor, you can still visually customize the look and feel of your Collection and publish an accompanying Editorial with DOI (free) to explain why you published it and what behaviors you hope to encourage by demonstrating change to your peers. For those of you who go to the lengths of adding comments to each article with a note of the reasons why you chose it, we’ve rewarded that effort by making the comments immediately visible on your Collection page and others can reply to you right there too.

Co-founder Alexander Grossmann’s Collection, entitled “Perspectives in Scholarly Publishing” (partially shown below), showcases these spiffy new features really well. As does the International Union of Crystallography Collection which also has some rockin Altmetrics!

AGC

And as a final touch to the all important effort:reward factor (a little ego boost if you will, when things go right anyways!), your Collection Statistics are also visible. Alex is doing quite nicely on this front!

AGCC

Although we’re delighted at the number of Collection Editors who have stepped up, we welcome more. If you want to join us, then please review this page and send us an email.

As ever, a shout-out to our Boston based dev team for helping Collections to flourish.

 

In:  Announcements  

Welcome Jan Velterop to our Advisory Board – introducing Peer Review by Endorsement

The process of peer review is in a horrible mess. There, we said it. Many others have done so and countless more think it but don’t speak out. Not a day appears to go by without the emergence of bold-faced cheating – 170 articles have now been retracted for fake peer review, or some new dubious practice – Editor quits journal over pay-for-expedited peer-review offer.

Peer review itself however remains a central tenet of academic discourse but the integrity of science is being compromised and it is at risk of being forever tarnished by scandals with the result that public trust will decline further.

That this is not a desirable outcome goes without saying. The question then becomes “what are we prepared to do about it and will researchers ever embrace a different process?”

At ScienceOpen, the research + Open Access publishing network, we’ve spent a great deal of time and effort rethinking scientific publishing and developing a better way to do peer review. In an effort to “lead by example” we facilitate non-anonymous, open, expert (only those with 5 or more publications per ORCID can review) Post-Publication Peer Review.

Other publishers also focus on reforming peer review, e.g. F1000 Research and The Winnower. Our observation is that despite vocally demanding reform, the scientific community is very resistant to change, though. Some commentators believe this is due to simple inertia and that probably plays a part – after all, scientific publishing remained unchanged for hundreds of years prior to these more turbulent times and people frequently acquiesce to a bad system because they are “used to it”.

More importantly, the system of promotion and tenure compels scientists to avoid “rocking the boat” since their published output remains a prime measure of their competence. Among the digital cognoscenti, the Impact Factor of the journal they choose to publish in is showing some signs of declining power but it still continues its vice-like grip in the minds of the majority.

The question that ScienceOpen is currently addressing is “how do we build more peer review choice and innovation into our publishing model without participating in (the increasingly problematic) anonymous pre-publication peer review as is practiced by the vast majority of publishers”?

Jan (3)

Enter Jan Velterop, stage left (to audience applause!). For most of you, Jan needs no introduction. Originally a marine geophysicist, he became a science publisher and has worked at Elsevier, Academic Press, Nature and BioMedCentral. He participated in the Budapest Open Access Initiative. In 2005 he joined Springer, based in the UK as Director of Open Access. In 2008 he left to help further develop semantic approaches to accelerate scientific discovery.

Today we are delighted to announce that Jan is joining our Advisory Board. He will help us launch “Peer Review by Endorsement” which occurs, just as usual peer review, before publication, but is entirely open and transparent. Authors will be able to choose the “Peer Review by Endorsement” option. Articles published this way will also be available for Post-Publication Peer Review, as are all 1.5 million OA articles aggregated on our site. This option will go live on our site during the summer of 2015.

So what is Peer Review by Endorsement? Rather than publisher-mediated peer review before publication, the scientific community takes this role and the publisher verifies the results. As Jan puts it:

It is more efficient and cost effective to hand peer review entirely back to the scientific community, where it rightly belongs, than for publishers to find the right, appropriate, available, reliable, expert reviewers.

Authors would be expected to arrange (or ask their Scholarly Society to arrange) for at least two peers to check the scientific soundness of their work and, if they are satisfied, to openly endorse its publication by declaring that in their view the work is suitable for being published as part of the scientific discourse. The work’s ‘significance’ is not an issue here (as that can often only be established after some time in the open anyway, and it has the considerable drawback of preventing some articles, e.g. null-results, from being published). The rules are that peer-reviewers/endorsers must be active researchers, and not be, or for at least five years have been, at the same institution as, or a co-author of, any of the authors. Once two signed and open peer reviews/endorsements are available, the article will be immediately published and, as usual for all articles published on ScienceOpen, available for further Post-Publication Peer Review.

We hope by introducing a two stage peer review process (Peer Review by Endorsement and Post-Publication Peer Review) to improve this mechanism for all. In the unlikely event of manipulation (present on a near daily basis in the traditional system), it will be transparent for all to see, which is bound to be a powerful antidote. As ScienceOpen is integrated with ORCID and reviews/endorsements are signed and non-anonymous, there is very little danger of sub-standard articles being published, as endorsers/reviewers would not want to put their reputations at risk.

Improvements to the original manuscripts, we believe, should be among the aims of peer review. Author-arranged Peer Review by Endorsement is conducive to an iterative process between authors and reviewers/endorsers, delivering those improvements.

Since arranging traditional pre-publication peer-review can be difficult for publishers, and can be slowed down by the necessary research to find appropriate reviewers, it can be quite costly. Especially since the cost of reviewing all submissions is usually carried only by those articles that are accepted for publication (this applies to the open access as well as pay-walled publishing models). The Peer Review by Endorsement option avoids that and authors choosing that option will therefore have their APC’s reduced. The regular Article Processing Fee (APC) for publishing in ScienceOpen is $800 and over the coming months prior to launch we will be seeking community feedback on the most appropriate discount level.

According to Jan:

The Peer Review by Endorsement approach leaves peer review to the community (with safeguards in place) and lets the publisher focus strongly on the technical integrity of the article presentation, preservation, machine-readability and the like, which often leaves a lot to be desired in the current system. The cost to authors (and their funders) of open access publishing will be materially be lower as a result.

Jan will be speaking about Peer Review by Endorsement at The Future of Scholarly Scientific Communication Part 1 event at The Royal Society (London, 20-21 April 2015). These meetings are being held in recognition of the 350th anniversary of Philosophical Transactions, the world’s first science journal.

On Monday afternoon, he is taking part in a session entitled “Peering at Review”, where he will join a conversation about “Future developments, evolution and alternatives”, together with Dr Richard Sever (Cold Spring Harbor Press) and Elizabeth Marincola, (CEO, PLOS) who recently said “At PLOS, in the not-too-distant future, we want to improve many aspects of peer review”.

Building a better Peer Review mechanism is certainly not easy but here at ScienceOpen we are committed to demonstrating a creative vision for a healthier ecosystem.

New Collection from the International Union of Crystallography – happy first birthday IUCrJ!

Image credit: A colorized two-dimensional XRD pattern, IUCrJ, CC-BY
Image credit: A colorized two-dimensional XRD pattern, IUCrJ, CC-BY

Here at ScienceOpen we’re a gold Open Access (OA) publisher, a peer review reformer and a content aggregator – our platform features 1.5 million articles sourced from PubMed Central, ArXiv and ScienceOpen.

In recognition of the London Book Fair 2015 and the associated spotlight this week on all matters publishing related, we’re highlighting two new Open Access (OA) article Collections. A top scientific union and a major medical publisher are using our platform to give their OA content increased visibility and facilitate Post-Publication Peer Review.

Jonathan Agbenyega, a Scientific Member of ScienceOpen and Business Development Manager at the International Union of Crystallography (IUCr), used our new Collection tool to select articles from their Open Access Journal, IUCrJ, to celebrate its first year.

Building this Collection on our platform, allows the IUCr, a leading non-profit International Scientific Union, to show its broad ranging content which is of interest to researchers from different disciplines that use results obtained from diffraction methods.

These articles are now available for Post-Publication Peer Review (PPPR), by experts with 5 publications on their ORCID, as are all the articles aggregated on our site. Every review receives a DOI so each contribution can be found and cited.

Not only is this content open for additional discussion after publication it can also be combined with other articles to form new Collections.

Jonathan commented, “I was delighted to bring together a collection of our leading papers from our new fully open-access journal IUCrJ and showcase them in a collection on the ScienceOpen platform. The additional visibility and opportunity to interact with the content which comes with this new portal will be an important step forward for all chemists, biologists and physicists working in the area of structure determination.”

Researchers, Societies or Publishers who want to create their own Collection are welcome to apply for the role of Community Editor (which entitles them to 2 free ScienceOpen articles) and then they, like Jonathan, can pick and choose articles from multiple publishers and combine them, for whatever reason they wish.

Welcome to the next wave of Open Access!

Finding relevant articles in the information haystack

Image credit: @academicssay, Twitter
Image credit: @AcademicsSay, Twitter

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.
  • Knowledge domain visualizations (Peter Kraker, LSE Impact Blog) – present the main areas in a field, and assigns relevant articles to them.

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.