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Archive for the ‘Database Content’ Category

The importance of cc:license tagging

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In the past, hybrid journals (where some articles are Open Access (OA) and others are not) were often dismissed as a temporary entity, something which would fall to the wayside in favour of purely open access (gold OA) or subscription journals. However, no matter how OA is being adopted, the number of hybrid journals is growing fast. This is a result of the increased demand for open access content in reputable subscription-based journals. More and more, high-profile publications are becoming hybrid journals to accommodate authors who choose (or are required by funding mandates) to make their work open while still being able to publish in top non-OA journals.

Consequently, hybrid journals are very important journals. According JournalTOCs statistics, they account for at least 30% of the total number of journals and it is likely that they will continue being an essential part of the scholarly publishing industry for years to come. This is particularly relevant if we consider that almost every hybrid journal is being indexed in at least one of the popular citation indexing services such as Scopus, Clarivate Analytics and CiteScore. While the number journals selected by JournalTOCs is not an exact representation of the whole scholarly journal landscape, its stats illustrated in the following image can give us a good idea of how the number of hybrid journals has steadily been increasing in the last five years.

 Figure 1: Last five years trend of the proportion of journals by publishing model.
(Source: JournalTOCs Aggregator Database. Values calculated each end of April of each year.)

This increased popularity has made it essential for services like JournalTOCs, which provide users with alerts for new issues from their favourite journals, to consider the need to identify OA articles within these hybrid journals. Not only will this make users aware of OA articles published together with subscription-based articles, but it also acknowledges how important OA articles are in the world of academic publishing.

To be able to programmatically pull OA articles from hybrid journals, it is necessary to find one identifying feature of OA articles that can be used across the board. Luckily for us, members of our JournalTOCs team led the search for this holy grail feature by the means of the Open JEMO project. The project identified that practically every hybrid journal was already using CC licenses in 2015. Currently, the Creative Commons (CC) license has become the de facto standard to identify the type of copyright license of OA articles. The conclusion of this project determined that the ‘cc:license tag’ could be used to set apart OA articles.

The cc:license tag is the main way to identify articles with a creative commons license which enables the free distribution of otherwise copyrighted work. In other words, this article is open access. At JournalTOCs, we already have the ability to indicate OA articles from hybrid journals right on the website if the cc:license tag is present in the RSS feeds of the current issue.

Figure 2: An example of how A&I Databases, Discovery Services and Aggregators can identify
OA articles in hybrid journals using the cc:license provided by the journal RSS feed.
(Source: JournalTOCs webpage for the ‘Acta Crystallographica Section D :
Biological Crystallography’ journal. Visited on 13 June 2018.)

Atypon steps in

One of a growing number of online publishing platforms that uses the cc:license tag to identify OA articles is Literatum, the online publishing platform of Atypon.

Atypon is following the lead of a handful of small but important publishers that were first to adopt the cc:license tag when identifying OA articles five years ago. Their number has been increasing steadily but Literatum is the first commercial publishing platform that has enabled full support for the cc:license in their RSS feeds following the JEMO guidelines. It is a commendable effort that should be emulated by every scholarly publisher and publishing platform. Similarly, OJS – the open source publishing platform – has enabled the use of the cc:license tag in their RSS feeds since approximately two years ago.

Atypon hosts a wide range of popular publishers, six of whom regularly use the cc:license tag in their RSS feeds and are, therefore, extremely useful for JournalTOCs.

These publishers are:

  • American Society of Clinical Oncology. Apart from publishing successful journals and case reports which revolve around the study of oncology, it primarily acts as a professional organisation for physicians and oncology professionals who care for people with cancer. They are particularly involved in the realm of cancer research and the care of cancer patients. They publish three journals which represent a mixture of hybrid, open access and subscription formats. We are also lucky enough to be able to use them as a great example of cc:license tagging in action!

  • FASEB (Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology). This organisation promotes research and education in biological and biomedical sciences. They are the publisher of one hybrid journal: the well-known FASEB journal which focuses on transdisciplinary research covering all field of biological science.

  • Wageningen Academic Publishers are an independent publishing house which focuses on life sciences. This includes animal and veterinary studies, nutrition and health, social and environmental studies and plant sciences. They currently publish seven journals which represent a mix of hybrid and subscription journals.

  • Taylor & Francis is a leading publisher of scholarly journals, books/ebooks, text books in a wide range of fields. This includes the humanities, social sciences, behavioural sciences, science, technology and medicine sectors. T&F is already using the cc:license tag in over 900 of their journals.

  • Physical Society of Japan. This publisher is one of the oldest academic societies for natural sciences in Japan and aim to bring the latest achievements and research in the study of physics to the forefront. They do this by regularly publishing two hybrid journals.
  • Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht is a German publisher of academic literature and is one of the oldest independent publishing houses in the world. They primarily publish journals about history, the humanities, pedagogy and psychology and are responsible for a mix of subscription and hybrid journals.

By enabling publishers to use the cc:license tag to identify OA articles, Atypon is leading the change towards providing accurate information to library knowledgebase systems. This will, therefore, solve the issues affecting OA discovery and adding value to the publishing supply chain. We hope that other publishers, hosted on Atypon or elsewhere, will begin to see the benefits of using the cc:license in their APIs and RSS feeds and will choose to make OA articles even more accessible to eager readers.

Written by Hayley Gibson

June 19th, 2018 at 9:38 am

Major landmark reached by JournalTOCs

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Now that we’ve hit the halfway point of April and are longing for our summer holidays, the tendency of most people at this point in the year is to start running out of steam.

We are delighted to announce that we just reached over 30,000 journals in our database thanks to the newly introduced JSON feeds by Cambridge University Press which pushed us over the edge to reach our goal. This is an extremely exciting development for us and it allows us to provide you, our users, with even more content.

JSON Feeds were originally developed by Brent Simmons and Manton Reece who are prevalent figures in the Apple community. For those of you who don’t know, JSON feeds are essentially the easier-to-read, less-buggy big brother to RSS and Atom feeds. They all follow a similar format but JSON feeds provide a more efficient way to accomplish the same tasks.

They are found everywhere these days from apps to websites such as Facebook. JSON has quickly become a developer’s favourite to use when developing API, so it’s no surprise that the websites of publishers of scholarly journals have started using this format. For us, Cambridge University Press’s decision to push JSON feeds is a huge step forward in content consumption. We expect that other journals follow in their footsteps.

JSON feeds also represent the opportunity to reverse the decreasing popularity of RSS feeds. JournalTOCs is extremely reliant on RSS feeds to bring you daily content but a few journals are now deciding not to offer them. Through the increasing prevalence of JSON feeds, we have an opportunity here to bring feed content back into the mainstream. JSON could be a good alternative for those publishers who are hesitant to implement RSS feeds for their journals. After all, JSON feeds are easy to create and use and do not rely on a third party platform while allowing the users to have more freedom and access to the content they want to follow.

More than anything, JSON feeds represent an additional source of content for JournalTOCs and will allow us to crack on with our important work by providing a more efficient route for us to take.

Keep your eyes peeled for other exciting JournalTOCs news on the horizon that we’re very eager to share with you all.


Written by Hayley Gibson

April 17th, 2018 at 10:05 am

The easy way: Dealing with large-scale move of RSS feeds from HTTP to HTTPS

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wget for Maney journal RSS feeds

A month ago, the world suffered a global cyberattack named by the international press as the ‘biggest ransomware’ offensive in history. Although the attack used a technique known as phishing (hackers spread a “ransomware” called WannaCry tricking email users into opening attachments and releasing malware onto their system) companies and organisations implemented every security measure available to them. One of those most common measures implemented by many journal publishers was to switch every webpage from HTTP to HTTPS (secure protocol) in order to encrypt and transport their content safely over the net.

While using https for every webpage, including pages that do not contain sensitive information, could seem to be an exaggerated and disputable measure, it is one of the quickest and efficient ways to protect a website. However, this measure has produced an unintended effect in the case of the RSS feeds used by journals to announce their new content: As a result of all these URLs changing, people who have manually added the previous URLs to feed readers are finding that those feeds are now out of date and are not providing the latest Tables of Contents. Even in the popular RSS reader services such as Netvibes, the previous feed URLs are not working.

It is up to individuals if they wish to load RSS feeds into their own readers, but in doing so, if the URL changes, individuals will then need to manually update the feeds in question. The benefit of using an aggregation service such as JournalTOCs is that we constantly maintain our database of feeds to ensure that we link only to the latest ones and that the content displayed in JournalTOCs is up-to-date. In the past couple of weeks we have updated thousands of feeds, using manual and automated methods, and this work continues. In essence, JournalTOCs does the work so that you don’t have to.

Written by Santiago Chumbe

June 23rd, 2017 at 2:26 pm

Crowdsourcing the journal selection process

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Selecting the Best Journals with Crowdsourcing

Since this year JournalTOCs has started to move on to a crowdsourcing model to maintain its growing database of journals.

Reaching the 24,000 journals milestone was the turning point. This number practically represents the bulk of relevant journals that have been selected and added by the selection team of JournalTOCs. In May we recognized that the selection process would greatly benefit from the contributions from professionals interested in having all the relevant journals in JournalTOCs.

The decision of using crowdsourcing was mainly based on two facts:

  1. Our small selection team cannot cope with the hundreds of requests we receive every day, most of them from relatively new Open Access (OA) publishers, asking us to add their journals to JournalTOCs. Very few of those journals pass the selection process.
  2. We had a growing number of talented and enthusiastic users, principally professional academic librarians, who have been helping us with the discovery and evaluation of new journals. Almost all the journals suggested by those users have passed the selection criteria.

Crowdselection works for JournalTOCs because the selection process relies upon the knowledge and requirements of those who actually need to use or provide access for the missing journals. In some way our approach is inspired in a crowdsourcing strategy used in the investment market, where the average price produced by ‘grey markets’ have demonstrated to be more accurate than the predictions made by the experts.

For example: Grey markets ran last year on both the Royal Mail and Twitter IPOs were more accurate in predicting prices than bankers and their advisers. On the Twitter IPO, the grey market predicted shares at the end of first day of trading would be worth $44. They actually ended up at $45.06 – incredibly close, particularly when you consider the price set the “expert” bankers was $26.

It was natural then to provide our valued users with the means to add and edit journals. Without realizing we started to use crowdsourcing to expand and update JournalTOCs. Thus gradually, crowdselection is effectively accomplishing the selection process that was once the province of the specialized team. The initial results are very encouraging.

Adding new journals and updating journals involves very few simple steps. The user counts with tools to first verify that both the publisher and the journals are not already registered with JournalTOCs. After this, the journal, and if necessary, the publisher too, can be added to the database. Crowdselection only adds journals that meet the following Selection Criteria:

  • The journal is a scientific or academic journal that publishes peer-reviewed research papers.
  • The journal must have an editor, an editorial board and a verifiable peer-review system in place.
  • The journal must publish TOC RSS feeds for its most recent issues.
  • The journal can be a magazine provided that it has a proven record of publishing only technical and professional reviewed material that is relevant to industry, government and research (e.g. Harvard Business Review Magazine)
  • The journal is an active journal that has published different issues in this year and the previous year. Brand new journals with only one issue published cannot be added to JournalTOCs. In particular we are carefully with new Open Access journals published by dubious houses.

Crowdselection includes an automated system that verifies new journals and the user who has created the journal is contacted if we notice that further guidance is needed.

A positive consequence of using crowdsourcing to maintain the entire database would be the possibility of making all the features of JournalTOCS Premium, that do not require institutional customisation, freely available to anyone, starting with the users that have helped to maintain the database of journals.

Written by Santiago Chumbe

September 29th, 2014 at 12:26 pm

The Most Followed Open Access (OA) Journals at JournalTOCs

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Overall Nature, Science and New England Journal of Medicine are the most followed journals at JournalTOCs (Top Journals). However, among the Open Access (OA) journals (which are carefully selected by JournalTOCs), D-Lib Magazine, the Journal of Information Literacy and, the Journal of Library & Information Science are the most followed OA journals. Below we list the top 100 most followed OA journals:

Journal Title Followers
D-Lib Magazine 510
Journal of Information Literacy 420
Journal of Library and Information Science 282
College and Research Libraries 265
Journal of Library Innovation 240
Journal of Digital Information 233
Library and Information Research 233
Annals of Library and Information Studies (ALIS) 232
Evidence Based Library and Information Practice 232
PLoS ONE 229
Information Technology and Libraries 212
Future Internet 203
Ariadne Magazine 201
PLoS Biology 199
Communications in Information Literacy 197
Research in Learning Technology 192
Library Leadership & Management 175
Journal of eScience Librarianship 163
Code4Lib Journal 155
BMC Public Health 151
First Monday 151
BMC Bioinformatics 145
Journal of Electronic Publishing 144
International Journal of Digital Curation 139
BMC Genomics 136
BMC Molecular Biology 134
Information 133
BMC Biology 131
BMC Evolutionary Biology 127
Information Technologies & International Development 124
New Knowledge Environments 122
BMC Cell Biology 119
e-learning and education (eleed) 117
American Journal of Biochemistry and Biotechnology 116
International Journal of Legal Information 112
South African Journal of Libraries and Information Science 102
InterActions: UCLA Journal of Education and Information 95
PLoS Computational Biology 89
Journal of Health & Medical Informatics 67
International Journal of Library Science 40
Journal of the Medical Library Association 40
International Journal of Aerospace Engineering 37
Bulletin of Materials Science 35
PLoS Genetics 31
Practical Academic Librarianship : The International Journal of the SLA Academic Division 28
American Journal of Applied Sciences 27
Journal of Communications 25
American Journal of Space Science 25
Journal of Online Learning and Teaching 24
Comparative Law Review 24
Ecology and Evolution 24
Obstetrics and Gynecology International 23
DESIDOC Journal of Library & Information Technology 23
Advances in Environmental Sciences – International Journal of the Bioflux Society 22
International Journal of Physiotherapy & Rehabilitation 22
American Journal of Business and Management 22
American Journal of Analytical Chemistry 22
Computational Linguistics 21
Advances in Rehabilitation 21
European Journal of Chemistry 21
BMC Medical Education 20
Nucleic Acids Research 20
PLoS Medicine 20
Digital Humanities Quarterly 20
JIPITEC Journal of Intellectual Property, Information Technology and E-Commerce Law 20
Advances in Human-Computer Interaction 18
Administrative Law Review 18
Sci-Tech News 18
Frontiers in Neuroscience 18
International Journal of Advanced Research in Computer Science and Electronics Engineering 18
PLoS Pathogens 17
International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning 17
International Journal of Analytical Chemistry 17
Early Modern Culture Online 17
Perspectives in International Librarianship 17
Journal of Cloud Computing : Advances, Systems and Applications 17
Library Philosophy and Practice 17
Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 16
Agricultural and Food Science 16
Anthropological Review 16
Advances in Acoustics and Vibration 16
Advances in Mechanical Engineering 16
Advances in Materials Science and Engineering 16
International Journal of Exercise Science 16
American Journal of Economics and Business Administration 16
Biodiversity: Research and Conservation 16
Advances in Chemical Engineering and Science 16
Ethnology : An International Journal of Cultural and Social Anthropology 16
Physiotherapy 16
Analytical Chemistry Insights 15
Journal of Environmental and Public Health 15
Sustainability 15
Journal of Social Sciences 15
Journal of Research on Libraries and Young Adults 15
Journal of Anthropology 15
Journal of Obstetric Anaesthesia and Critical Care 15
Advances in Analytical Chemistry 15
American Journal of Chemistry 15
Asian Journal of Earth Sciences 14
Advances in Civil Engineering 14

Written by Santiago Chumbe

September 10th, 2013 at 11:40 am