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Reflections on the ORCID Outreach Meeting

Posted by Brian Kelly (UK Web Focus) on 24 May 2013

Cameron Neylon summarises the meetings

Cameron Neylon, PLoS, summarises the meetings

Yesterday I attended an ORCID Outreach Meeting which was held at the University of Oxford. As described in Wikipedia ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID) is a “nonproprietary alphanumeric code to uniquely identify scientific and other academic authors. This addresses the problem that a particular author’s contributions to the scientific literature can be hard to electronically recognize as most personal names are not unique, they can change (such as with marriage), have cultural differences in name order, contain inconsistent use of first-name abbreviations and employ different writing systems.” The outreach meeting provided an opportunity to hear about take-up of ORCID IDs, see examples of systens which are being developed to manage or exploit ORCID IDs and to hear about plans for further activities.

The half-day meeting was held at St Anne’s College, University of Oxford. In the afternoon a meeting on “Getting Credit for your Work: A Symposium on Research Attribution” was co-hosted with Dryad, a curated resource that makes the data underlying scientific publications discoverable, freely reusable, and citable.

I enjoyed the meeting and found it useful to see how ORCID adoption is growing steadily, but also to see the demonstrations which illustrated how ORCID is being used by a variety of organisations. However, as was discussed during the meeting, there is a need to go beyond the early adopters in order to ensure that take-up of ORCID IDs continues.

I was pleased the the slides used by the speakers were made available on Slideshare and that this was done shortly on the day of the event. I’ve embedded the slides which were used during the morning’s event below. Note that these are also available from the ORCIDSlides Slideshare account.

Presentations by ORCID Staff


Status and Plans, Laure Haak, ORCID Executive Director

ORCID Outreach, Rebecca Bryant, ORCID Director of Community

Technical Update, Laura Paglione, ORCID Technical Director

Integration Demos


Integrating ORCID in Profiles and Screen Shots [remote presentation],
Chris Dorney, Boston University

Capturing ORCID iDs in the manuscript submission and production process, Paul Peters, Hindawi Publishing

Linking ORCID and DataCite, Mummi Thorisson, ODIN

Using ORCID iDs to support institutional reporting systems, Thorsten Hoellrigl, Avedas

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Why Every Researcher Should Sign Up For Their ORCID ID

Posted by Brian Kelly (UK Web Focus) on 9 January 2013

JISC news item about ORCIDI was pleased to see the news item published by the Jisc earlier today which announced UK specialists welcome launch of ORCID as tool to identify researchers.

The news item describes how:

Jisc joins organisations from across the UK higher education network to welcome the launch of the Open Researcher and Contributor Identifier (ORCID).

and goes on to describe the benefits which ORCID can provide:

There are more academic articles being published than ever before and more authors working together. In order to be able to identify an author correctly a unique identifier is needed that can then link to each author’s publications. ORCID provides this link and if widely used would:

  • Ensure researchers get credit for their own work
  • Ensure researchers and learners looking for information will be able to find academic papers more accurately
  • Enable better management of researcher publication records, making it easier for them to create CVs, reduce form filling and improve reporting to funders
  • Create a means of linking information between institutions and systems internationally
  • Enable researchers to keep track of their own work with funders, publishers and institutions around the world.

It also provides researchers with their own ORCID. Researchers are able to control how much information it holds about them and who that is shared with. The adoption of ORCID is a solution to the current challenges of being able to search for work accurately. By researchers volunteering to adopt its usage it could improve discoverability and accurate referencing.

As described in a post which explained Why You Should Do More Than Simply Claiming Your ORCID ID I feel it is important that researchers claim their ORCID ID (I will use two words as I suspect that this will less ambiguous than ‘claiming an ORCID‘). The post gave the reasons why I feel that researchers should do more than simply claim their ORCID ID and go on to include their ORCID IDs together with the ORCID IDs of their co-authors in references to their papers. The reason I gave for doing this was to minimise the risks of losing connections with co-authors, who may have changed their affiliation and thus no longer have their original email address and institutional Web presence.

In light of the recent Announcement: UKOLN – Looking Ahead which described how the Jisc “will only provide core funding to the UKOLN Innovation Support Centre, up to July 2013 but not beyond” there will clearly be a need for myself and my colleagues to minimise the risks of losing the connections with our research outputs. Since the first bullet point of the benefits which ORCID can provide is to:

Ensure researchers get credit for their own work

it would appear that claiming an ORCID ID should be a priority for researchers whose position in their host institution is uncertain. But doesn’t this apply to everyone? From one perspective this might be relevant in light of funding uncertainties in the sector which are compounded by last month’s announcement of the “Huge Drop in Students Starting University“. But beyond the current economic situation, every researcher will, at some stage, leave their host institution (whether to take up a new post elsewhere, retirement, redundancy or death in service).

It would appear that every researcher who wishes to ensure that they get credit for their own work, and can ensure that such credit can be managed when they leave their current institution should benefit from claiming an ORCID ID. As described in the post claiming an ORCID ID “is a painless exercise, taking about 30 seconds to complete” so this is something which all researchers should be able to do.

In the Jisc news item Neil Jacobs, programme director, Jisc commented: “We recognise that this is only the start and that work needs to be done to implement ORCID in the UK. However, we have a solid beginning and we look forward to working with our partners across the sector to build on it.

As is clear from the ORCID Knowledge base many suggestions have been made on ways in which the service can be enhanced. But the simplest action lies in the hands of the individual researchers: sign up for an ORCID ID!


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Why You Should Do More Than Simply Claiming Your ORCID ID

Posted by Brian Kelly (UK Web Focus) on 19 November 2012

Background to ORCID

Last week the SpotOn London 2012 conference (#solo12) included a session entitled ORCID – Why Do We Need a Unique Researcher ID? As described in the abstract for the session:

Open Researcher & Contributor ID (ORCID) provides a persistent digital identifier that distinguishes you from every other researcher. Through integration with key research workflows and other identifiers, ORCID supports automated linkages between you and your professional activities, ensuring that your work is recognized. The ORCID service launched in October 2012 and in this hands-on workshop we will demonstrate the different tools that already use the ORCID identifier, from manuscript submission to altmetrics for your publications. The focus will be on working with these tools so that at the end of the workshop you will have registered for your personal ORCID (if you didn’t have one already), started creating your ORCID record, and explored cool ways to use your ORCID to connect your research back to you. Wide usage and adoption of a researcher naming standard is a key component of effective research communication. Such a standard is fundamental to improving data quality and system interoperability, and ultimately will reduce the amount of time individuals spend maintaining their professional record—freeing time for research itself.

As described in a recent post on Observing Growth In Popularity of ORCID: An SEO Analysis we can already observe take-up in use of ORCID since its launch last month.

Claiming an ORCID ID

Shortly after the launch I claimed my ORCID ID: 0000-0001-5875-8744. As suggested on the ORCID home page this is a painless exercise, taking about 30 seconds to complete.

I then added addition information including details of my research papers. Citation information for my papers were added automatically once I had associated my ORCID ID with my Scopus account. I then had to individually change the visibility of these items from Private to Public in order that the records were including in the public display of my ORCID profile.

The final thing I did was to add links to my key Web resources, including the UKOLN Web site, my UK Web Focus blog and my LinkedIn profile.

If you a researcher and have published peer-reviewed papers I would recommend claiming of your ORCID ID. But beyond investing 30 seconds in claiming the ID I would also suggest that you should associate your ORCID ID with your papers and then make them public (note it has been suggested that the display should be public by default). I would also recommend that your ORCID record should provide links so that others can find out more about you and your research activities, including your current contact details.

Using An ORCID Record

Maintaining Links, As Author Affiliations Changes

I would suggest, however, that researchers should do more than simply claim their ORCID ID. I recently realised recently that I was in danger of losing contact with people I have co-authored papers with since writing my first peer-reviewed paper back in 1999. This has always been a danger in light of the turn-over in affiliations for those working as researchers and will become even more relevant in light of cutbacks in higher education.

I have therefore started to make contact with co-authors and have invited them to claim their ORCID ID. I will include this information in citation records which I maintain. As an example the papers tab on this blog contains details of papers I have published and includes links to further information for each of the papers.

I have recently begun updating the citation details with links to the ORCID ID for my co-authors when I have been notified of their ORCID ID.

An example for the paper on A Challenge to Web Accessibility Metrics and Guidelines: Putting People and Processes First is illustrated, for which ORCID IDs for three of the four authors are available.

In this case the co-authors are still based at same institution. However for a paper on Developing Countries; Developing Experiences: Approaches to Accessibility for the Real World written by three of the four same authors, Sarah Lewthwaite was at the time based at the University of Nottingham. The page containing the citation information has Sarah’s institutional details from when the paper was published (and the paper itself will have the email details for this institution which will no longer work). However the ORCID ID will continue to be valid, and can be updated with any new organisational details and email address.

Supporting Resource Discovery

Since claiming my ORCID ID I have found that a Google search for ‘Brian Kelly ORCID includes my ORCID record in the first page of results, as illustrated. And whilst finding the page probably reflects a personalised view of my Google search results, it did occur to my that a search for ‘researcher’s name ORCID’ may become a quick way of finding research publications for an individual. Since my initial experiments tended to find results related to the Orcid flower I realised that use of ‘ORCID ID’ may provide a useful disambiguation term. I have therefore decided to use this structure in my Web resources, even if pedants point out the redundancy in use of ‘ID’ since ORCID stands for Open Researcher & Contributor ID. After all, we talk about the Sahara Desert even though Sahara means desert.

If a search for ‘name ORCID ID’ becomes a means of helping to find details for a researcher’s publication record might it also be useful for finding the papers themselves?

As illustrated, a Google search for ‘A Challenge to Web Accessibility Metrics and Guidelines: Putting People and Processes First finds the item in the institutional repository, an article posted on this blog and, in third place, the information provided in my ORCID record.

Although it should again be mentioned that these findings may be skewed by Google personalisation features (I was logged into Google when carrying out the search and used the PC in my office) the point to be made is that content held in ORCID will be found by Google.

In addition, the visibility of the ORCID Web site is likely to be enhanced as more people link to ORCID from their Web sites, especially high-ranking Web sites. This may mean that the early adopters who claim an ORCID ID in its early stages of development will gain benefits through their peers finding their published research papers – something likely to be of particularly important within the UK higher education sector in the run-up to REF 2014.

Why would you not claim your ORCID ID? Why would you not make use of your ORCID record as I have suggested? And if any of my co-authors read this post, feel free to get in touch and let me have details of your ORCID ID.


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Observing Growth In Popularity of ORCID: An SEO Analysis

Posted by Brian Kelly (UK Web Focus) on 15 November 2012

The ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID) service was launched recently. From the ORCID Web site we learn that

ORCID provides a persistent digital identifier that distinguishes you from every other researcher and, through integration in key research workflows such as manuscript and grant submission, supports automated linkages between you and your professional activities ensuring that your work is recognized

We would expect all public networked services to have an interest in monitoring take-up of the service, especially in the period after the launch. The ORCID team will be monitoring registrations on the service, but it is also possible to monitor the growth of a networked service by monitoring the links to the service.

The MajesticSEO tool can be used to monitor links to a Web site, and provide information on the number of links and domains as well as providing additional information such as the Alexa ranking the domains, link text used, resources linked to, etc.

The findings from the MajesticSEO tool taken on 15 November 2012 are illustrated. As can be seen there are currently 521 domains linking to the service, with a total of 11,923 links, 2,295 of which are from educational institutions.

The current findings can be viewed on the MajesticSEO Web site (a free subscription is needed to view the findings). The findings for the top ten referring domains are shown below.

# Referring Domains Backlinks Alexa Rank Flow Metrics
Citation
Flow
Trust
Flow
1 hull.name 2,462      N/A 24 26
2 figshare.com 2,086 279,286 27 22
3 upc.edu 2,049   21,837 63 65
4 neilernst.net    755        N/A 17 10
5 duraspace.org    410 718,279 47 49
6 knowledgespeak.com    351        N/A 33 25
7 knowledgenavigator.ca    241        N/A   9   5
8 datadryad.org    197        N/A 30 26
9 mchabib.com    170        N/A 22 16
10 wordpress.com    144        22 95 93

The hull.name domains appears to me an anomaly.  Following discussions with the owner of this domain, a researcher at the University of Manchester it appears he is not carrying out any ORCID development or harvesting activities, so perhaps there was a flaw in the data collection carried out by the MajesticSEO service. The other entries in the table give an indication of the organisations which seems to be early adopters of ORCID or, perhaps in the case of WordPress.com, suggest where blog posts about ORCID are being discussed.

Sorting the table by Alexa ranking shows the most highly ranked Web services which contain links to the ORCID site.

# Referring Domains Alexa Rank Backlinks Flow Metrics
Citation
Flow
Trust
Flow
1 google.com   2    1 99 99
2 blogspot.com  11   37 98 94
3 wordpress.com  22 144 95 93
4 slideshare.net 177     1 79 77
5 guardian.co.uk 192     6 91 88
6 blogspot.com.es 238     4 62 52
7 hatena.ne.jp 281     1 82 69
8 blogspot.co.uk 290     2 64 55
9 typepad.com 317    21 87 83
10 blogspot.de 342      4 67 54

The presence of two popular cloud-based blog platforms, WordPress.com and Blogspot.com, suggest that researchers are either talking about ORCID on these blogs or perhaps even linking to ORCID records from blog posts. However the number of links are currently too small to draw any significant conclusions from the findings.

But perhaps of most interest is the geographical display of take-up of ORCID IDs.  The global map probably reflects the location of leading research institutions and publishers of research journals. But zooming in on the UK provides a more interesting view of the location of Web sites which have links to the ORCID domain.  Bath is currently represented by 22 links from the UKOLN Web site and one from the Ariadne ejournal. As mentioned above, the map is skewed by the large numbers of links from the hull.name domain which is based in Manchester which has 2,462 links. Two locations for Scotland are shown: 9 links from the Edinburgh University Web site, 3 from EDINA and 3 from the DCC. The other location is the city of ‘Heriot’ (which actually refers to Heriot-Watt University which is based in Edinburgh).

It will be interesting to observe how this map develops as ORCID takes off.


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Curating #KEDAI Tweets Using Storify

Posted by Brian Kelly (UK Web Focus) on 16 March 2012

Digital Author Identifier Summit

A Digital Author Identifier Summit, organised by Knowledge Exchange, took place in London on 12-13 March 2012. As described on the Knowledge Exchange web site:

Knowledge Exchange organised a summit and brought together various national and international organisations working on Digital Author Identifiers. This summit took place on 13 and 14 March 2012 in London.

The web site went on to describe how:

The objectives were:

  • to share knowledge and experience and to exchange views on desired developments
  • to identify priority issues for technology, service and policy development
  • to explore and stimulate interoperability and common approaches
  • to inform and support future planning – explore the role Knowledge Exchange (KE) can play

I did not attend the event but some of my colleagues were present. In addition a number of people I follow on Twitter were also at the event and participated in the discussions and provided summaries of the talks given by the invited speakers and the conclusions of the breakout sessions.  I therefore became aware of the event via my Twitter stream and soon discovered that the event hashtag was #KEDAI

Curating Tweets from the Digital Author Identifier Summit

In light of UKOLN’s involvement in a variety of work associated with digital identifiers, having spotted the quality of the reporting of the workshop on Twitter, I decided that it would be useful not only to myself and UKOLN colleagues but also the wider research community if I were to keep a record of the significant tweets, or ‘curate’ the tweets to use a term which currently seems fashionable.

I used Storify to keep a record of the #KEDIA tweets and a screenshot of the first six tweets is illustrated.

It was interesting to note that the top aim of the event was:

to share knowledge and experience and to exchange views on desired developments

Nobody said that the sharing had to be restricted to those who physically attended the meeting, so I’m pleased to be able to amplify the notes provided by several attendees at the event, including those shown in the photograph (taken from the Knowledge Exchange Web site).

It should be noted that the tweets hosted on Storify can be embedded on other web sites using an embedded script tag. This requires use of embedding technologies which are not permitted on WordPress.com. However I have just noticed that there is an option to publish a Storify story directly on a WordPress.com blog. Unfortunately this did not work, so I have captured the first set of tweets as an image in order to illustrate what you will see if you visit the Storify page.

Reflecting on the Value of Tweeting at the Event

From looking at the tweets we can see evidence of the success of the two-day workshop, with @BasCordewener commenting:

#kedai meeting was a very good one. Vibrant discussions, relevant recommendations, increased knowledge! Led by @atreloar, inspiring chair.

and @atreloa modestly responding:

@BasCordewener You are too kind. I was only part of a team that worked very well to deliver an excellent event #kedai

The value of the tweets was acknowledged by two remote participants with @williamjnixon showing his appreciation for hearing about the event on Twitter

Diping in and out of the non-Indonesian Knowledge Exchange Digital Author Identifiers Workshop #kedai, thanks to @atreloar for heads-up

and @mopennock showing her appreciation to the two people who tweeted about the event initially:

Thanks to @bindonlane & @atreloar for the #kedai tweets, sounds like a fascinating event.

Emerging Best Practices

As described in a post on Resources from Andrew Treloar’s Seminar on Data Management on 1 April 2011 Andrew Treloar (@atreloar) gave a seminar at UKOLN on “Data Management: International Challenges, National Infrastructure and Institutional Responses – an Australian Perspective on Data Management”. As part of our work in maximising impact of such seminars we provided a live video stream of the seminar, with a video recording (taken on a smartphone) subsequently being published.

In the pub later that evening Andrew, my colleague Paul Walk and myself discussed ways in which events, ranging from a  seminar attracting a handful of people to a larger workshop lasting a couple of days, might be ‘amplified’, even if there is no budget available for commissioning professional AV services.  It seems that such approaches were embraced at the workshop earlier this week, based on a handful of people tweeting at the event and the tweets subsequently being curated and publicised to a wider audience. How might we summarise the emerging best practices for organisers of events who wish to maximise engagement opportunities from a wider audience?

About to start moderating/presenting at/taking part in Knowledge Exchange Digital Author Identifier workshop in London #KEDAI

He then went on to point out possible clashes with other uses of the tag:

By the way, apologies to those of you seeing a hashtag collision for #KEDAI. If it’s in Indonesian it probably doesn’t relate to the w’shop

  • Encourage participants to tweet in order to obtain a critical mass (bearing in mind that being a solo person tweeting about an event can be difficult) as illustrated by @atreloar:

Will try and shame others into tweeting so you get more than just my take on it #keda

  • Provide a concluding tweet which helps others (including a third party who may be curating the tweets) to identify when an event is over (although, as in this case, there may be subsequent tweets this may not always happen).  In this example, @atreloar provided a conclusion in echoing the comments made by the final speaker at the event:

In summary, very helpful and he wants to thank (on behalf of US!) the JISC and KE for organising the event #KEDA

But what of the possible risks associated with curation of tweets form an event?  Such issues are being addressed as part of the JISC-funded Greening Events II project which is being led by ILRT, University of Bristol, with UKOLN delivering a workpackage on best practices for event amplification.  In a blog post published yesterday on Assessing the Risks: Twitter Kirsty Pitkin described an initial risk assessment approach which will be included in the Greening Events II report on use of Twitter at events.

In this post, I’ll not repeat the warnings of possible risks (which include event spam and inappropriate tweets). However the initial risk is worth highlighting: the risk of doing nothing or failing to engage. For those who may be averse to taking risks it should be noted that doing nothing may be the biggest risk!

Reading Kirsty’s comments it occurred to me that in addition to inappropriate tweets resulting from the mob mentality i.e. “the audience may engage in a negative critique of the speaker whilst a presentation is ongoing” there may also be tweets which the person tweeting may feel not to be appropriate to be included in a curated record (e.g. jokey asides),  As part of the process for curating tweets I’m thinking that a summary which provides the context, the scoping criteria for including and information about removing inappropriate tweets may be a useful addition to a curated story would be useful.  My suggested approach is given below:

These tweets were curated by Brian Kelly, UKOLN based on tweets with the #KEDAI hashtag.  Duplicate entries (i.e. RTs) have been removed. A summary of the curation of this story has been posted ion the UK Web Focus blog at  http://ukwebfocus.wordpress.com/2012/03/16/kedai-tweets-and-the-value-of-storify/

If any inappropriate tweets have been included in this story, please contact Brian Kelly (@briankelly). If appropriate such tweets will be removed.

I’d welcome your thoughts.

Posted in Identifiers, Twitter | 2 Comments »

Will the Real Scott Wilson Please Stand Up, Please Stand Up

Posted by Brian Kelly (UK Web Focus) on 20 September 2011

The Microsoft Academic Search Service

At the recent Science Online London (SOLO) 2011 conference I attended a session on the Microsoft Academic Search service.  There seem to have been a lot of developments to this service since I first signed up for it shortly it had been announced.  I couldn’t get a decent feel for the service on my Android phone at the session since it uses Silverlight which isn’t supported on my phone.  However the tweets for the session were curated using Storify and these resources have been embedded in a post on the Nature blog which includes Twitter summaries of the third breakout sessions.From these useful notes I find that:

  • Microsoft Academic Search has details of over 27 million publications (see tweet).
  • There is an expectation that there will be up to 200 million publications by next year, but the biggest flaw is the content (see tweet).
  • Users can edit the content in the database i.e. using  crowd sourcing to cleanup the data  (see tweet).
  • Co-author and citation graphs shows relations which connect people (see tweet).
  • There is an open API for Microsoft academic search (see tweet).
  • Currently there’s no real system for claiming authorship on Microsoft Academic Research (see tweet).

I was impressed by the functionality and user interface. But in addition I was also interested in the issues raised in the tweets listed above regarding claiming authorship of papers and using crowd-sourcing to enhance the quality of the content.  I will discuss these issues in this post.

Personal Experiences

Shortly after returning to my office I reviewed the information it had about my research papers. A summary for my papers is illustrated below.

Although I am aware of the papers I have published I hadn’t really looked at the statistical analysis of the papers.  But in addition to details of the numbers of citations and the G-Index and H-index scores, of particular interest was the information about the 37 co-authors of papers I have published during my time at UKOLN.

As illustrated the Microsoft Academic Search service allows you to view links between the co-authors. You can also produce a similar citation graph showing researchers which have cited your work.

In addition you can also view the degrees of separation between two researchers - and I discovered that I have co-authored a paper with Sebastian Rahtz who has co-authored a paper with Dame Wendy Hall who has co-authored a paper with Sir Tim-Berners-Lee.

Interesting stuff – and if you are primarily a researcher the information on links and relationships may be particularly significant.  But can we trust the information which is depicted in the diagram?

Can We Trust The Information?

When checking details of my co-authors I noticed a number of errors. In the bottom right hand corner of the screen shot I have placed four of my co-authors:

Scott Wilson: Is based at CETIS, University of Bolton but on the Microsoft Academic Search service is listed as working at the University of British Columbia and apparently has published 74 papers.

Stephen Dean Brown: Is based at De Montford University but on the Microsoft Academic Search service is listed as working at the University of Toronto and apparently has published 88 papers.

Richard Davies: Is based at University College London  but on the Microsoft Academic Search service is listed as working at the University of Sheffield and apparently has published 35 papers.

Lawrie Phippsa: Is based at JISC but on the Microsoft Academic Search service is listed with an incorrectly spelt surname (although he does have a correct identifier which lists him as being based at JISC and having published 10 papers).

Back in April 2011 I wrote a post in which I described What I Like and Don’t Like About IamResearcher.com about the IamResearcher service.  I can recall how, having signed up for the service, I had to assert the papers which I had written, merge papers which had been assigned to different variants of my name and delete those which were incorrectly assigned to me. However since access to the IamResearcher.com service is restricted to signed in users I wasn’t too concerned about the service.  The information held on the Microsoft Academic Search service, in contrast, is openly available and widgets are available which enable the information to be embedded elsewhere – and I have used this feature to include information about my papers on the UKOLN Web site.  But how should we address the problems caused by incorrect information which I have illustrated?

Maintainance Issues

A Researcher’s List of Publications

I have edited a number of the errors I found in my details – but there is one paper on One world, one web … but great diversity which is also listed again as One World, One Web … But Great Diversity. Despite having tried to merge these two papers a week ago, the item is still listed twice (and is locked form further editing).  It would appear that there is a bottle-neck in approving changes.  So although researchers should have a vested interest in ensuring that information is accurate and complete (after all the content of open services such as the Microsoft Academic Search should be harvested by Google and will thus enhance the visibility of the source content) this may not be easy to do, even if the authors are aware of the service and feel sufficiently motivated to correct any errors.

And since there are pressures from funding bodies to maximise awareness and impact of one’s research papers it would seem to be self-evident that researchers will be motivated to manage their content. But is this really true?  And even if researchers can be made aware of the potential benefits, will they feel the effort is worthwhile?

Additional Content

Services such as Microsoft Academic Search may provide automatically find the title and  authors for a paper. However managing this information might include:

  • Providing links to details for the correct author.
  • Providing full citation details for the papers.
  • Providing links to PDF versions of papers, if available.
  • Providing conference details for papers published at conferences.

It may be felt to be the responsibility of the lead author to support the dissemination of a paper in this way (as well as having responsibility for the content and ensuring the paper is submitted in time). But in addition to maintaining details of the papers and co-authors there is also the need to consider other information which may not be as easy to determine.  For example recently while looking to summarise details of UKOLN’s peer-reviewed papers I noticed that authors’ institutional details had been split across UKOLN/Bath and the University of Bath. There appears to be a need to  aggregate this information in order to provide an organisational view of our research outputs.

Such a departmental view may help to provide an insight into changing areas of research interests. The accompanying image, for examples, shows  the subject of UKOLN’s research publications over time. From this we can see a long-standing involvement in the areas of information retrieval and human-computer interfaces. However this picture is skewed by the not having all authors included under the same department (and the information not being updated despite changes made over a week ago).

Getting It Right

The cynic would blame Microsoft for the problems which I have identified, but I think this would be unfair.  I feel that the service does provide a very appealing interface which has advantages over Google Scholar, for example.

But what improvements are needed in order to enhance the quality of such services?

It seems to me that there are three main sources of information, each of which will have corresponding issues which will have to be addressed:

  • Information about the author:  This is information which we might expect the author to maintain  (name, contact details, host institution, previous employment, etc.)  However there will be a need for the author to be sufficiently motivated to claim their identity and maintain the information.  There will also be a question of trust.
  • Information about the author’s papers:  This is information which could be harvested from content provided by publishers, institutional repositories, etc. However, as has been illustrated, there will be a need to validate information which is harvested.
  • Information about the author’s institution: The host institution will have an interest in ensuring that the research outputs from its staff and research students are included.

It should be noted that there may be tensions between an individual’s and an institution’s view on such data. For example the outlier in the diagram shown above (a paper on “Becoming an Information Provider on the World Wide Web”  published in 1994) should be included in my list of publications (it was the first peer-reviewed paper I wrote). However at the time I was working at the University of Leeds so it should not be included as a UKOLN/University of bath publication.

We could regard the process of ‘getting it right’ to be primarily focussed on data modelling. But since the Microsoft Academic Search service involved automated harvesting of large volumes of data from a range of sources with an expectation that data cleansing will be carried out by ‘crowd-sourcing’ including the authors themselves there will be a need to consider the motivations for people to register for a system, check the information and be willing to update it.

For me important drivers for doing this include:

  • Updating data which is openly available as I would have a vested interest in ensuring that information about my professional activities is correct and up-to-date. (I have no interest in updating information held in the IAmResearch.com service as this is closed).
  • Having a richly functional, easy-to-use and visually appealing system which differentiates itself from other providers.
  • Allows me to update the information easily and quickly.  Note that having found that information which I have updated on the Microsoft Academic Search service has not been approved after a period of a week is a barrier for making any more updates to this system.

And although I may be willing to update the information about myself and my institution I am reluctant to correct errors about my co-authors. Although for example,  I know about the paper which Scott Wilson and I have co-authored and know that he is based at CETIS, I don’t know if he was based at Bolton or Bangor University when we wrote the paper. I also don’t know which papers written by Scott Wilson were written by the Scott I know and which one’s were written by the Scott Wilson who is based at the University of British Columbia.  Will the real Scott Wilson please stand up!

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