Linking scholarly literature with data – the Scholix initiative

Dr Adrian Burton1, Dr Amir Aryani1, Ms Natasha Simons2,  Ms Catherine Brady1

1Australian National Data Service, Canberra, Australia,

2Australian National Data Service, Brisbane, Australia

SUMMARY

Links between scholarly literature and data enable discovery of and access to related knowledge and underpinning observations. They facilitate reuse, reproducibility and transparency of research. In practice, however, these links are difficult to find or share. The main reason for this is that there is no universal way of exchanging link information between databases and systems which hold this information. The international Scholix initiative aims to address this problem by providing an overarching framework for existing technical initiatives that individually address parts of the overall problem. Research institutions can join the Scholix effort by becoming contributors and consumers. Australian researchers contributing to the Scholix initiative via Research Data Australia gain increased exposure, and potentially recognition, for their data and linked publications through third party services like Scopus.

INTRODUCTION

Links between a journal article and data enable the reader of the article to follow the connection  to the data that supports the findings of the research. Conversely, they enable a user of a dataset to find literature based on that dataset. These links significantly aid the scientific method by improving discovery of research outcomes and access to related knowledge and underpinning observations. While there are clear benefits to literature and data linking, in practice these links are difficult to find or share. The main reason for this problem is the lack of a universal standard for exchanging connections between databases and systems which hold this information. Instead, there are different agreements and technical frameworks for exchanging links between different partners and scholarly systems managed by bilateral agreements between individual institutions. . The Scholix initiative[1] aims to address this problem. Its goal is to improve the connectivity between scholarly literature and research data as well as between datasets, thereby making it easier to discover, interpret and reuse scholarly information.

WHAT IS SCHOLIX?

Scholix is short for Scholarly Link Exchange. The goal of Scholix is to improve the links between scholarly literature and research data as well as between data and data. Scholix is global in scope and is an initiative of the Research Data Alliance (RDA) and the World Data System (WDS). It is supported by a number of partner organisations, including ANDS, with many people involved in its development.

The Scholix initiative offers:

  1. a universal, global framework that enables information about the links between scholarly articles and data to be exchanged
  2. technical guidelines that specify how the interoperability framework will work
  3. a common conceptual model, an information model and open exchange protocols.

HOW DOES SCHOLIX WORK?

Scholix provides an overarching framework for existing technical initiatives that individually address parts of the overall problem that is hindering better linking between data and literature [2]. It also provides a conceptual model and an information model. Within the Scholix framework repositories, data centres, journals and others provide information about the links between literature and data that they hold to community ‘Hubs’ such as OpenAire, Crossref and DataCite. The community ‘Hubs’ – which are natural places to collect and exchange information about the links between literature and data – commit to a common information model for exchanging the links that they hold and an agreed open exchange method enables this to occur.

HOW CAN RESEARCH INSTITUTIONS CONTRIBUTE AND BENEFIT?

Research institutions can join the Scholix effort to increase the links between scholarly literature and data. The Research Data Australia Registry enables contributor metadata records containing connections between data collections and related publications to be mapped to the Scholix Framework’s Information Model [3]. The benefits of becoming a contributor include improving the discovery of the linked research objects and potentially increasing web traffic to the institution. The benefits of becoming a consumer include better tracking of datasets and publications plus making it easier for researchers and others to find and access relevant datasets. Australian researchers contributing to the Scholix initiative via Research Data Australia gain increased exposure, and potentially recognition, for their data and linked publications through third party services like Scopus [4].

PRESENTATION OUTLINE

This presentation will:

  • introduce the international Scholix initiative to the Australasian eResearch community
  • enable a discussion on how to link data and publications to enhance research discovery and reproducibility
  • outline the reasons behind the Scholix initiative and its potential benefits to researchers
  • provide detail on how Scholix works at a technical level
  • demonstrate how research institutions can contribute to the Scholix initiative and gain benefits from participation

REFERENCES

  1. Scholix: a framework for scholarly link exchange. Available from http://www.scholix.org/. Accessed 27 June 2017.
  2. Burton, A. et al. The Scholix Framework for Interoperability in Data-Literature Information Exchange. D-Lib (Jan 2017). https://doi.org/10.1045/january2017-burton
  3. Linking data with Scholix. Available from http://www.ands.org.au/working-with-data/publishing-and-reusing-data/linking-data-with-scholix. Accessed 27 June 2017.
  4. New on Scopus: Link to datasets, search funding acknowledgements and find more CiteScore transparency. Available from  https://blog.scopus.com/posts/new-on-scopus-link-to-datasets-search-funding-acknowledgements-and-find-more-citescore Accessed 27 june 2017.

Biographies

Dr Adrian Burton is Director of Services at the Australian National Data Service (ANDS).  In this capacity he has a keen interest in national services that enable data publication, data discovery and data citation as well as the human support services that build the capability of researchers and research organisations to take advantage of data infrastructure. Adrian has provided strategic input into several national infrastructure initiatives, including Towards an Australian Research Data Commons, The National eResearch Architecture Taskforce, and the Australian Research Data Infrastructure Committee.   Adrian is active in building national policy frameworks to unlock the value in the research data outputs of publicly funded research.

Dr Amir Aryani is the co-chair of the Data Description Registry Interoperability WG in Research Data Alliance and the project lead for the Research Data Switchboard. He is working in the capacity of a project manager for Australian National University (ANDS), and part of this role is to manage ANDS interoperability projects with international partners. He has completed his PhD in the field of software evolution at the school of computer science, RMIT university, and he has peer-reviewed publications in fields of Software Engineering, Software Evolution and eResearch.

About the conference

eResearch Australasia provides opportunities for delegates to engage, connect, and share their ideas and exemplars concerning new information centric research capabilities, and how information and communication technologies help researchers to collaborate, collect, manage, share, process, analyse, store, find, understand and re-use information.

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