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Set up alerts for when pre-pub articles became officially published

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Sometimes you may want to be made aware of articles that you know they have been submitted for a journal for peer-review. For example if you are an author you would want to be automatically notified when your article is published on the web. If you are the manager of an Institutional Repository (IR) you may want to run some kind of automated queries from your repository to the publisher’s database, for records without final publication details so that you can pick up the missing metadata as soon as the articles are officially published.

The JournalTOCs API can help you in these cases. It is not the perfect solution because there are publishers that are still not using DC and PRISM modules in their RSS feeds to enable aggregators to unambiguously identify authors and institutions. However, JournalTOCs still can help you to reduce the number of articles you may be missing to update in your IR.

A small webapp to run queries against the TOCs of journals that have been updated in the last 24 hours

Simon Greenhill, a research fellow in the Psychology Department and Computational Evolution Group at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, has recently released a python wrapper for the JournalTOCs API to retrieve journal TOC RSS feeds by ISSN and then run local queries against the journals that have been updated in the previous 24 hours.

Simon uses the wrapper to load in a collection of articles using JournalTOCs various RSS feeds from a sizable list of journals. His application would require polling each journal RSS feed via the JournalTOCs API periodically. In order to make the calls to the API more efficient and less bandwidth-demanding, he uses the JournalTOCs API call latest_updates so he can call that single feed once a day or so, and see if any of the journals he cares about have been updated.

Wrapper Code:

JournalTOC API (RSS feed) to retrieve the journals that have been updated in the last 24 hours:

Using JournalTOCs API to be alerted when pre-pub articles became officially published

Let’s suppose you have a pre-pub article deposited in the IR of the University of Warwick by academic Ian Philp. To setup an alert to be informed when journalTOCs identifies that an article of Ian Philp has been published officially, you could complete these steps:

  1. sign in to JournalTOCs
  2. search for: PhilpUniversity of Warwick” (Philp is a simple keyword and “University of Warwick” is the the name of the university enclosed by double quotes to signify phrase searching)
  3. You will get the search hits.
  4. From your Account Menu (top drop down list of options at the top corner under your account name) select & click on “Saved Searches“; or just point your browser to
  5. Under “You have recently searched for:” find your search query: Philp “University of Warwick” and click on its [Save] link
  6. Your search query will move up to your list of Saved Searches, from where you can choose to be alerted by email (click on “Alert-me“) or you can click on its RSS icon to create the RSS feeds for this search, so you can get the result via your RSS reader when the article is published.

By using the RSS feeds for your saved searches it might be possible to build some sort of application/plug-in that would automatically query JournalTOCs database from “in print” records in a repository to notify the IR manager when they were published. Just remember that the metadata in JournaTOCs is not good enough to identify articles by author uniquely because JournalTOCS only has what the publishers put into their RSS feeds. For example it might not work in practice with names like Smith and with universities like Birmingham (UK or Alabama?)

Written by Santiago Chumbe

February 28th, 2012 at 12:18 pm