Five-year campaign breaks science’s citation paywall

Article by Dalmeet Singh Chawla: “The more than 60 million scientific-journal papers indexed by Crossref — the database that registers DOIs, or digital object identifiers, for many of the world’s academic publications — now contain reference lists that are free to access and reuse.

The milestone, announced on Twitter on 18 August, is the result of an effort by the Initiative for Open Citations (I4OC), launched in 2017. Open-science advocates have for years campaigned to make papers’ citation data accessible under liberal copyright licences so that they can be studied, and those analyses shared. Free access to citations enables researchers to identify research trends, lets them conduct studies on which areas of research need funding, and helps them to spot when scientists are manipulating citation counts….

The move means that bibliometricians, scientometricians and information scientists will be able to reuse citation data in any way they please under the most liberal copyright licence, called CC0. This, in turn, allows other researchers to build on their work.

Before I4OC, researchers generally had to obtain permission to access data from major scholarly databases such as Web of Science and Scopus, and weren’t able to share the samples.

However, the opening up of Crossref articles’ citations doesn’t mean that all the world’s scholarly content now has open references. Although most major international academic publishers, including Elsevier, Springer Nature (which publishes Nature) and Taylor & Francis, index their papers on Crossref, some do not. These often include regional and non-English-language publications.

I4OC co-founder Dario Taraborelli, who is science programme officer at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and based in San Francisco, California, says that the next challenge will be to encourage publishers who don’t already deposit reference data in Crossref to do so….(More)”.