I4OC: the new initiative for openly accessible citations

Six organisations recently announced the establishment of the Initiative for Open Citations (I4OC): OpenCitations, the Wikimedia Foundation, PLOS, eLife, DataCite, and the Centre for Culture and Technology at Curtin University.

OpenAIRE is proud to be amongst the initial group of 33 organisations, including The Internet Archive and Mozilla, to formally put their name behind I4OC as stakeholders in support of openly accessible citations. OpenAIRE supports and creates the social and technical bridges enabling Open Science in Europe and beyond. Specifically, its technical services (i) collect citation metadata about OA and non-OA literature, research data, software, organizations, funders, grants, and research communities, (ii) interlink these entities with semantic relationships to maintain an openly shared information graph in support of open science and research impact monitoring. The open citation data enabled by I4OC will crucially help OpenAIRE’s mission to deliver this information graph. OpenAIRE is thus very pleased to be a founding stakeholder of I4OC to help push forward transparency and participation in research processes via open citation data.

I4OC aims to facilitate publisher efforts to make data freely available and to promote the creation of a comprehensive, freely-available corpus of scholarly citation data. Such a corpus of scholarly citations with no copyright restriction will be valuable for new as well as existing services, and will allow many more interested parties to explore, mine, and reuse the data for new knowledge.

The key benefits that arise from a fully open citation dataset include:
  • The establishment of a global public web of linked scholarly citation data to enhance the discoverability of published content, both subscription access and open access. This will particularly benefit individuals who are not members of academic institutions with subscriptions to commercial citation databases.
  • The ability to build new services over the open citation data, for the benefit of publishers, researchers, funding agencies, academic institutions and the general public as well as enhancing existing services.
  • The creation of a public citation graph to explore connections between knowledge fields, and to follow the evolution of ideas and scholarly disciplines.

I4OCThe creation of I4OC was spearheaded by Jonathan Dugan, Martin Fenner, Jan Gerlach, Catriona MacCallum, Daniel Mietchen, Cameron Neylon, Mark Patterson, Michelle Paulson, Silvio Peroni, David Shotton, and Dario Taraborelli. Dario Taraborelli, Head of Research at the Wikimedia Foundation, says: “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.”

Natalia Manola, Managing Director of OpenAIRE, says: “OpenAIRE is very excited about I4OC, which is an important step towards openness and transparency in scholarly communication. I4OC will bring concrete benefits for OpenAIRE and our stakeholders, including improved analytics services, better information for our repositories, transparent evaluation of the impact of European research, and open, evidence-based policy making.”

Paolo Manghi, Technical Director of OpenAIRE, says: “OpenAIRE is looking forward to contributing to I4OC by openly sharing its information graph of citations between scientific articles, research datasets, and research software. Bringing together major data sources and stakeholders to open citation data can enable a whole new world of creative and efficient added-value services.”

Wolfram Horstmann, Scientific Coordinator of OpenAIRE, says: “I4OC has the potential to establish a paradigm shift in scholarly communication, specifically regarding innovation and reproducibility of citation and impact analysis as well as a deeper understanding how researchers are networked worldwide. OpenAIRE warmly welcomes this initiative and aims to help increasing the re-use of citation data in institutional and national contexts as well as leveraging local knowledge to enlarge and enhance I4OC citation data.”

Publishers who wish to join this initiative to open up their reference data must simply email Crossref (support@crossref.org) requesting they turn on reference distribution for all their DOI prefixes. I4OC will provide regular updates on the growth of the public citation corpus, how the data is being used, additional stakeholders and participating publishers as they join, and as new services are developed.

Read the full I4OC announcement here.

I4OC Homepage: https://i4oc.org
Twitter: https://twitter.com/i4oc_org

Ilaria Fava

Project Officer for EOSCpilot and OpenAIRE at University of Goettingen

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