The overarching scope of this Working Group (WG) is to address processes, workflows, and solutions that currently exist—mostly as bilateral agreements—between individual parties within the data publication landscape, and investigate how these can be lifted to one-for-all services that increase interoperability, decrease systemic inefficiencies, and power new tools and functionalities to the benefit of researchers. Such processes may lie at different moments in the data publication workflow, including the submission, editorial, review, and publication process.
As a primary point of focus, the WG will address the problem of limited interoperability between data repositories, scholarly journal publication platforms, and tools for bibliometric analysis. Currently, there is no common framework for cross-referencing datasets and published articles, which creates barriers and inefficiencies for the interlinking and contextualization of journal articles and datasets. This is a problem because better connections between articles and data will improve the visibility, discoverability, and usability of scientific content and serve to accelerate science in the 21st century.
To address this issue, the initial focus of this WG is to work towards a one-to-many cross-reference service for datasets and articles published in scientific journals, i.e. a service that at a minimum enables the identification of datasets associated with articles and vice versa. Additional features could include linking at different levels of granularity metadata to describe the nature of the relationship, relevant metadata for individual datasets, and articles. The WG appreciates that quality—both in terms of content and in terms of operational performance—will be a decisive factor for successful adoption of the cross- referencing service. Equally, the WG appreciates the importance of the cross-linking service being inclusive and available to all stakeholders in the data publication landscape.
To achieve this, the WG has set several deliverables for 2014:
● Inventory of interlinking, cross-referencing, and other tools and processes relevant to data publication currently in place. An analysis of pros and cons, with an emphasis on scalability and doability.
● Gap analysis, including an analysis of needs & use cases for key stakeholders (data repositories, journal publishers, providers of bibliographic services, funding bodies, research institutions, researchers).
● Recommendations for a one-to-all cross-resolving service that benefits the stakeholders in data publishing. These recommendations will include technical, organizational, governance, and cost aspects.
● An operational and publicly available service for cross-referencing datasets and articles. Within the timeframe of this WG, such a service is expected to be in beta-release and with limited initial scope, but it should exemplify the recommendations of the WG in a way that is suitable for scaling up.
In addition to the cross-referencing service, which targets the later phases of the data publication workflow, the WG aims to identify other processes in the data publication landscape that are ripe for a common, one-for-all service approach. In particular, are there opportunities to create a standard, more streamlined workflow for researchers to find an appropriate data repository, to deposit their data, and to establish links to related journal publications? Are there opportunities to make it easier for editors and reviewers of scientific journals to find, access, and share relevant datasets?
The outcome of this working group will benefit key stakeholders in the data publishing landscape including data repositories, journal publishers, providers of bibliographic services, funding bodies, research institutes, and ultimately researchers as data providers and data users. For all parties, access to and use of one-for-all services will enhance the discovery, availability and reliability of scientific content on the web. In the absence of accepted cross-referencing services, existing data partners adopt practical at-hand solutions to achieve system interoperability. Journal publishers work with authors and data repositories, often on an individual, mostly bilateral basis, in order to encourage and support the data providers while also establishing timely and efficient interconnections and processes. As cross-referencing services emerge, these partner-specific and discipline-specific solutions will become better interconnected, more efficient, and more dependable.
Who will benefit and Impact
In summary, the WG sees the key value elements for the proposed cross-referencing service for the key stakeholders as follows:
● For data repositories and journal publishers, interlinking journal articles and datasets will become a simpler, more scalable process with less overhead. This will help connect journal publications to underlying data, and help demonstrate how data are used in the scholarly literature.
● For research institutes, libraries, bibliographic service providers, and funding bodies, this service can power advanced bibliographic services and productivity assessment tools that track datasets and journal publications within a common and respected framework.
● For researchers, data providers and data users, a cross-referencing service will make the processes of sharing and of accessing relevant articles and data easier, more efficient, and more accurate. The cross-referencing service will be an enabling technology that results in better connections between different platforms for scientific content. From a reader’s perspective, that means that relevant data and relevant articles will be easier to find and from an author’s point of view it means greater impact for their work.
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