Literature review is a crucial aspect of scientific work, with every single published research paper requiring one as part of the Introduction. Still, keeping up with the rapidly growing body of literature can be a daunting and time consuming task, and difficult to integrate into the everyday routine for many researchers. Being not an urgent, deadline-driven kind of activity, regular literature review often lands on the bottom of to-do lists.
However, with more than 2 million research papers published each year, how are you supposed to efficiently stay on top of this?
This is especially the case in the era of digital publishing when the power of established, high impact factor journal brands is becoming less important compared to article-level metrics and individual assessments. In this dynamically changing environment of scientific communication, keeping an open mind and providing critical evaluation of the literature have never been more important.
Consequently, signing up to individual RSS feeds or browsing through the contents of each of the key journals of your field of research is simply not an efficient way to keep yourself up to date.
At ScienceOpen, we offer powerful solutions for staying on top of recently published articles. By following the 3 steps below, you can easily integrate an effective literature review and discovery routine into your research life.
A core concept for our evolving understanding of open research and scholarship is that of equity and fairness within the global research community. At ScienceOpen, this is something we strongly believe in, and work together with a range of publishers and researchers to play our part in making this a reality for research.
As part of our mission, we therefore try to break down barriers in research, and prefer to build bridges over walls. Here are just some examples of how we do this, and in doing so contribute to building a platform that acts as a social community space for all researchers.
One of the main features of ScienceOpen is that we are a research aggregator. We don’t select what we index based on discipline, publisher, or geography, as that just creates another silo. Enough of those exist already. What we need, and what we do, is to bring together research articles from across publishers and other platforms and into one space, where it is all treated in exactly the same way.
When you have articles displayed in this way, factors such as journal brands and impact factors play less importance than the actual content itself. Users can make their own choices about what to read, review, share, and re-use based on their own expertise and evaluation, or the social context provided by our other users.
Last year, SciELO integrated more than 500,000 Open Access articles with us from across Latin America, for the first time putting all of this research on the same level as that from research contained within PubMed Central. There is no reason why there should be geographical segregation of research across platforms. We believe that all research deserves to be read and re-used by anyone, irrespective of where that research was conducted and who published it.
Open Access isn’t just about access to knowledge, but also principles of equality, and to achieve that we have to recognize the value of research from around the world.
Open Access to research is perhaps nowhere more important than in the field of medicine and health. This is why we’re happy to have a huge amount of Open Access research from Dove Medical Press integrated into our platform to enhance its visibility and discoverability.
Dove Medical Press was founded in 2003 and specializes in the publication of Open Access peer-reviewed journals across the broad spectrum of science, technology, and especially medicine. As a result of our new partnership, more than 14,400 of their freely accessible articles from 9 of their top international, peer-reviewed, online journals addressing both researchers and professionals are now indexed on ScienceOpen.
On top of our search and discovery platform ScienceOpen has built a ‘social networking’ layer to allow researchers to interact with each other and with the content on our site.
We don’t see ourselves so much as a social platform like Facebook or ResearchGate, but more as a professional community space for researchers to exchange knowledge and progress their research field in the open, and receive credit for doing so.
But what are the key features needed for any modern research platform like this?
Unlike other platforms, we don’t expect you to manually upload your papers. We automate this via ORCID integration instead. I mean, it’s 2017, this just makes sense.
Platforms such as ResearchGate and Academia.edu rely on individuals to manually upload their research, often requiring a lot of effort and time. Furthermore, there is a total loss of legal certainty, as often it is copyrighted publisher versions which are uploaded onto the platforms, and integrated into their data systems.
One of our favourite upgrades is how each of more than 24,000 journals are featured and displayed. Now it is possible for anyone to see what journals exist on our platform and how many articles are tracked for each one of them. That’s the first step. Try searching for your favourite journal, or even a journal you work for, and seeing what we have for it.
At ScienceOpen, we are constantly upgrading and adapting our platform to meet the needs of the different stakeholders in scholarly publishing. We work with a huge range of publishers (e.g., Brill, Open Library of Humanities, Higher Education PressPeerJ, Cold Spring Harbor) and listen to the needs of researchers, together building solutions to help enhance the global research process.
With the re-launch of ScienceOpen, we really are pushing forward to create a multi-purpose, solution-oriented platform that aligns with ongoing trends in scholarly publishing.
ScienceOpen for publishers and editors
Our new platform provides an invaluable service for publishers and editors. We provide aggregate metrics for re-use, including the number of readers on our platform and the summed Altmetric score. As you can see in the example below for BioMed Central, these numbers can be used to look at how well you’re competing with other publishers, as well as how your content is being read and re-used by researchers. Content on the site is aggregated through PubMed Central, SciELO, ORCID and arXiv or added via reference analysis with a DOI metadata check with Crossref. Or publishers can work directly with us to add their content to the site for a fee. We now offer extra features like a “read” button link back to the publisher version of record. We are happy to index content of all license types.
The more of your content we have on our platform, the better the level of service we can provide for you.
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)