Scientific Publishing and Developer APIs

Rafael Sidi loves to quote Bob Dylan’s song ‘The times they are a-changing”… Certainly in the scientific publishing developer APIs world.

For years there were APIs available from the scientific abstracts databases Scopus, WoS, PubMed, etc.

Last year Elsevier launched SciVerse Application Marketplace that provides developers APIs (Application Programming Interface) to build applications that will integrate into the SciVerse suite of products (ScienceDirect, Scopus, Hub). Some examples –

  • SciverNote:  allows you to save ScienceDirect article abstracts and/or references to Evernote®
  • Top Reviews:  find the most relevant review articles in your Scopus search results
  • iSpeech Audio Reader: This one is pretty cool – reads your ScienceDirect articles aloud
Check out the current Applications Gallery.
You may also want to check out what Nature will be launching soon. This appears to be limited to Search APIs, scientific bookmarking tool (Connotea) APIs, and the social networking site (Nature Network) APIs. There’s a nice presentation (embedded below) put together by Chandran Honour that lays out the api landscape in scientific publishing (Oct 25, 2011)
PLoS has already announced their APIs for search and Article Metrics earlier this year. Springer has announced APIs to their Images database, APIs to the metadata for their journal/book content and API to query their OpenAccess content.
There are probably several that I haven’t mentioned here.
These are exciting times and it will be interesting to see if some understanding develops across publishers to standardize APIs. In the end the goal is to enable researchers to create solutions that are specific to their needs and hopefully help advance scientific research.
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CrossRef Revises DOI Display Guidelines #yam

The new guidelines encourage CrossRef member publishers, affiliates, and others in the scholarly community to display CrossRef DOIs as full URLs in the online environment. (A CrossRef DOI is a persistent link to scholarly content.) To create a DOI URL, anyone can simply prepend http://dx.doi.org/ to any DOI.

via CrossRef Blog: News Release: CrossRef Revises DOI Display Guidelines.

Data is at the heart of new science ecosystem – DATA – Research Information

Open data and open APIs offer huge opportunities for research and innovation, writes Elsevier’s Rafael Sidi

via Data is at the heart of new science ecosystem – DATA – Research Information.

New product strategies for publishing companies

Love this presentation from Judy Sims… Very nicely summarized at the end of her post and i’ve quoted below. There are specific themes I’ve take the liberty of highlighting below that traditional publishers need to pay attention to –

The economics of media have shifted. Scarcity and abundance have flipped. This has caused hyperdeflation in media value and the end of the blockbuster era. Hyperdeflation can be countered by creating snowballs. The old media blockbuster economy was built on exclusion. The new snowball economy will be built by being open to aggregators, micro-platforms and re-constructors and capitalizing on economies of distribution, coordination and production.

This part i really like

In media 2.0 there are 3 sources of value creation.

Revelation – what’s good. (My comment: includes anything that helps our users get what they want – links from competitors, blogs; anything relevant to users – we should provide it.)

Aggregation – bring elegant organization to the huge amount of data I’m exposed to and

Plasticity – let me get my hands on your content to see how I can add my own value to it. (My comment: i.e. via API, etc)

This new economy requires radically different product strategies: letting the outside in, curation rather than ownership, becoming a part of an ecosystem, moving from mass to vertical content and viewing the site as a service instead of a product.

via The New Economics of Media and thestar.com – SimsBlog.

Researchers need data

Have you ever read an article that talked about the outcome of some research done? Have you ever felt that it would be neat to see how they (whoever did the research) arrived at their conclusions? Ever felt it would be nice to see the data they used or wished you could have at the data to play around with or re-purpose.

I was reading this post by Cameron Neylon. Pretty smart guy and I’ve just started reading his blog. I am particularly intrigued by this paragraph in the aforementioned post –

Data publication, serving, and archival. There may be less journals but there will be much greater diversity of materials being published through a larger number of mechanisms. There are massive opportunities in providing high quality infrastructure and services to funders and institutions to aggregate, publish, and archive the full set of research outputs. I intend to draw heavily on Dorothea Salo’s wonderful slideset on data publication for this part.

(Note: I’ve linked to Dorothea Salo’s slideshare presentation below)

If i understand right, there is a need to have some kind of shared infrastructure for researchers to publish their research output and therefore the ‘data’ behind the research. (Not being from a research background myself, I don’t know if I’m completely understanding the scope of what’s being asked).

If that’s what is needed and if there is a business case for providing this type of service any organization would do it. I can see the business potential here and definitely the enormity of what is being asked. Its going to be an interesting 2-3 weeks. I’ll be watching Cameron’s updates.

Sphere for adding Related Topics

I read CNN a lot and i like their little “From the Blogs” section at the bottom of an article.

I only just noticed that it was powered by Sphere. They have some really nice features here that will make for wonderful integration with online publishers. Our own WordPress incorporates Sphere content to get us related blog entries that you see at the bottom of your post (if there are any available).

Here’s some information from Sphere’s website.

Connecting the Conversation!

Sphere connects your current articles to contextually relevant content from your archives as well as from Blog Posts, Media Articles, Video, Photos, and Ads from across the Web.

via Sphere.

Additional information for publishers – http://www.sphere.com/publishers/embedded+links