I4OC- An Inititative To Widen Open Access To Scholarly Research

Open Access Journals

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Open access journals are scholarly articles and research which are available online to the public for free. These are vital resources used by scientists and academicians to widen their comprehension of the current advancements in their respective disciplines. Thousands of open access journals are available in a variety of disciplines today. This article discusses the I4OC, an initiative taken recently to increase open access to scholarly research.

The Launch of the Initiative for Open Citations

Open Citations

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The Initiative for Open Citations (I4OC) is a project collaboratively launched in April 2017 by research organizations, scholarly publishers, and other interested parties to increase the free availability of scholarly citation data online. It intends to facilitate enhanced citation analysis. It was established in response to a paper presented by the head of research at the Wikimedia Foundation, Dario Taraborelli. The paper titled Citations needed for the sum of all human knowledge: Wikidata as the missing link between scholarly publishing and linked open data was presented by him in September 2016 at the eighth Conference on Open Access Scholarly Publishing.

The founding partners of the Initiative for Open Citations include the Public Library of Science (PLoS), The Centre for Culture and Technology, DataCite, eLife, and the Wikimedia Foundation.

Currently, 66 organizations are participating in the I4OC initiative, including 33 stakeholders and 29 publishers. A few of the stakeholders include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Mozilla, and the Welcome Trust. And a few to name among the publishers are Wiley, Taylor & Francis, and Springer Nature. A noteworthy deviation was Elsevier, which contributes 30% of its citation metadata in Crossref.

The launch of I4OC was pioneered by Martin Fenner, Jonathan Dugan, Jan Gerlach, Daniel Mietchen, Cameron Neylon, Catriona MacCallum, Mark Patterson, Michelle Paulson, David Shotton, Silvio Peroni, and Dario Taraborelli.

The Initiative for Open Citations- Increasing Available Citations

Though the scholarly articles are governed by copyright, the citation data is a part of the public domain, says Wikimedia. The Initiative for Open Citations, in their announcement, stated that several significant publishers already share their data with Crossref, a non-profit organization which takes efforts to make scholarly research more easily accessible, but only a fraction of them (1%) allowed their references for free availability. So, though this freed the scholarly content of copyright barriers, those were still difficult to access. The current initiative, i.e., Initiative for Open Citations, will increase the available citations to 40%, says Wikimedia.

“Citations are the foundation for how we know what we know. Today, tens of millions of scholarly citations become available to the public with no copyright restriction. We look forward to more organizations joining this initiative to release and build on this data” said Dario Taraborelli.

The benefits of a fully open citation data

Citations are areas where researchers accredit their theories’ origins. These provide the readers with the literature resources pertaining to the subject.

  • An open citation data repository will enable the public at liberty to easily locate scholarly research. This will particularly benefit people who do not have subscriptions to commercial citation databases, says the Initiative for Open Citations.
  • An open database will make it simple to investigate connections between diverse areas of knowledge, and to trace the effect of significant articles and research over time.
  • An open access database will also facilitate the construction of new services pertaining to open citation data for the benefit of funding agencies, researchers, academic institutions, publishers and the general public. Additionally, it will enhance the existing services like GeneWiki project, which has been linking sources of reference to info on proteins, diseases and genes in Wikidata and Wikipedia; the WikiFactMine project which is aiding to link Wikidata statements in the biomedical sciences field to scholarly literature; LibraryBase project which constructs tools to understand the way info in Wikipedia is referenced and lead how editors recognize and utilize references on Wikipedia; WikiCite project, which aims to generate a bibliographic database in Wikidata to cater to the needs of all Wikimedia projects; and many more.

Rounding up, academicians and scientists are well aware of the fact that all things on the net do not come for free. But the initiatives like I4OC taken towards increasing open access to scholarly research is gradually breaking down the cost barriers, and contributing to the digital community which shares educational resources and intellectual content.

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