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Systematic identification of OA articles from hybrid journals

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JournalTOCs is pleased to announce that the automated identification of Open Access (OA) articles from hybrid journals has started to work today

This is a highly important development in the efforts being made towards enabling systematic and easy identification of Open Access articles for aggregators, discovery services and A&I providers.

Publishers start to enable the systematic identification of Open Access at the Article Level

These first results are the product of collaboration between JournalTOCs and more than 10 established commercial forward thinking publishers.

Being able to systematically and consistently identify Open Access articles, regardless where they have been published, has a huge potential for the progress of Open Access and could play a vital role in the success of using the hybrid model to migrate subscription-based titles to full Open Access in a sustainable way for authors, readers, librarians and publishers.

The technology behind this new service is the simple and easy to use TOC RSS feeds. RSS feeds are also relatively easy to implement.

A publisher wanting to support the automated discovery of Open Access from its journals only needs to create its RSS feeds by following these best practices and these steps.

Example showing how an OA article from a hybrid journal is identified by JournalTOCs:

OA article in a Hybrid journal

At this stage the OA articles are only identified as such by the OA logo Open Access and an orange background. As more publishers implement the <cc:license> and <dc:rights> standard elements in their RSS feeds, we will be able to provide information on the type of CC licence and the copyright holder for each OA article. The information will be obtained by combining the possible implementations of the <cc:license> and <dc:rights> elements:

Article copyright
Article copyright belongs to the publisher:
<dc:rights>Copyright © Publication_Year Publisher_Name</dc:rights>
<dc:rights>Copyright © 2014 ScienceMed Publisher Ltd</dc:rights>
Article copyright belongs to the author(s):
<dc:rights>Copyright © Publication_Year First Author_Surname, First_Author_Initial [et al]</dc:rights>
<dc:rights>Copyright © 2014 Smith J.</dc:rights>
Type of Creative Commons licence (only for OA articles)
– for CC-BY licences:
<cc:license rdf:resource=”” />
– for CC-BY-NC licenses:
<cc:license rdf:resource=”” />
– for CC-BY-NC-SA licenses:
<cc:license rdf:resource=”” />
– for CC-BY-NC-ND licenses:
<cc:license rdf:resource=”” />
Subscription-based or non-OA articles
Example of an RSS feeds’ root element showing all the required namespaces to enable OA discovery at the article level:

Written by Santiago Chumbe

April 7th, 2014 at 4:54 pm

I am Open Access (OA)!

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Alerting OA accessibility using available bibliographic metadata standards

Alerting Open Access Availability

Forward thinking publishers have started to include in their Table of Contents (TOC) RSS feed metadata, elements that describe the copyright and access rights associated with an OA article. Being able to identify the accessibility of an article becomes even more important when the article has been published in a hybrid journal in which some articles are OA while the rest of the articles are available on an individual pay-per-view basis or journal subscription. The following is a sample of those publishers and the metadata elements that they are using to identify article’s copyrights and access rights:

  • Inderscience Publishers
    For subscription articles:
    <dc:rights>© 2013 Inderscience Enterprises Ltd.</dc:rights>

    For OA articles:
    <dc:rights>First Author [et al] (Open Access)</dc:rights>
    <cc:license rdf:resource=””/>

  • John Wiley and Sons
    For both OA and subscription articles:
    <dc:rights xmlns:dc=””/>
  • Wolters Kluwer – Lippincott Williams and Wilkins
    For both OA and subscription articles:
    <copyright><![CDATA[(C)2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.]]></copyright>

  • Biomed Central Ltd.
    All articles are OA. For all articles:
    <cc:license rdf:resource=”” />
  • Hindawi Publishing Corporation
    All articles are OA. For all articles:
    <copyright>Copyright © 2013 First Author [et al.] All rights reserved.</copyright>
  • Libertas Academica
    For subscription articles:

    For OA articles:
    <cc:license rdf:resource=””/>

  • ISRN International Scholarly Research Network
    All articles are OA. For all articles:
    <copyright>Copyright © 2013 First Author [et al.] All rights reserved.</copyright>
  • PeerJ
    All articles are OA. For all articles:
    <dc:rights>© 2013 First Author [et al.]</dc:rights>
        <terms:LicenseDocument rdf:about=””/>
    <prism:copyright>© 2013 First Author [et al.]</prism:copyright>
    <cc:license rdf:resource=””/>
    <cc:attributionURL rdf:resource=”[article URL]”/>
    <cc:attributionName> First Author [et al.]</cc:attributionName>

Some diversity can be seen in the implementation of the copyright and license elements. However, it is positive to notice that a pattern is emerging, where the dc:rights element is used to identify the copyrights holder for the article and cc:license to indicate the access rights for the article. JournalTOCs supports the use of dc:rights and cc:license that follow this pattern:

  • For Non-OA articles:
    <dc:rights>Copyright © [Publication Year] [Publisher_Name]</dc:rights>
  • For OA articles:
    <dc:rights>Copyright © [Publication Year] First Author_Surname, First_Author_Initial [et al]</dc:rights> (if copyright is retained by the author)
    <cc:license rdf:resource=”[Selected_CC_License]”/>

These elements should be included in the journal RSS feeds and in any metadata that publishers expose for aggregators and discovery services. A&I, aggregators and discovery services will be able to identify an item as an OA article by checking that its dc:rights element contains the text “Open Access” and/or the cc:license element is pointing to a specific CC license.

JournalTOCs supports the use of standard metadata to identify OA content in particular from hybrid journals in which OA and subscription articles are published together. In that sense we advise publishers to use the dc:rights and cc:license elements as describe above. Publishers are welcome to contact JournalTOCs at for further information and guidance in the implementation of these two elements for their RSS feeds.

Written by Santiago Chumbe

March 18th, 2013 at 4:17 pm

How good are the RSS feeds of the best journals? [1]

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As we know there a range of variations in the quality of the RSS feeds that publishers produce to announce the latest issues or articles published in their journals. But we wonder if there is any correlation between quality of a journal and quality of its RSS feeds. In particular what about the best journals, I mean the journals with the highest impacts, most-cited articles and the most prolific content? Are their TOC RSS feeds a reflection of their outstanding position and quality?

Surely the publishers of the top journals are aware of the advantages of providing excellent RSS feeds (with rich content, tagged with standards elements and focused in enabling re-usability and early awareness.) We can get a good idea of the quality of the RSS feeds of those top journals by checking that their RSS feeds are valid and well formed, follow the RSS specifications for scholarly publishers, and in particular are making use of the main RSS 1.0 modules recommended by the “Recommendations on RSS Feeds for Scholarly Publishers“, namely the Dublin Core and PRISM modules. We are carrying out such analysis, which will take some time. In the meantime we could check the RSS feeds of the winners of the ALPSP Award for Best New Journal 2012, recently announced.

It is interesting to notice that Postmedieval, from Palgrave Macmillan, which is the winner of the ALPSP Award for Best New Journal 2012 is among the journals with the best TOC RSS feeds too.

The TOC RSS feeds of Postmedieval include all the metadata required to support efficient reuse (e.g. OpenURL resolution) and dissemination (e.g. current awareness) of latest articles, making Postmedieval a good example of how to use RSS feeds.

The TOC RSS feeds of Postmedieval implement very well the recommendations and guidelines made by the RSS Advisor Board as well as the Recommendations on RSS Feeds for Scholarly Publishers.

Similarly the winner of the Highly Commended Certificate (Methods in Ecology and Evolution, from the British
Ecological Society and Wiley-Blackwell) as well as the shortlisted journals (Cancer Discovery, from the
American Association for Cancer Research, and Physical Review X, from the American Physical Society) have excellent TOC RSS feeds.

Clearly there is a direct relationship between the quality of those new journals and the quality of their RSS feeds. In a next post we will report on the results of our analysis of the RSS feeds collected by JournalTOCs to determine whether the top journals tend to have the best TOC RSS feeds or not.

Postmedieval TOC RSS feeds:

Methods in Ecology and Evolution TOC RSS feeds:

Cancer Discovery

Physical Review X

Written by Santiago Chumbe

September 14th, 2012 at 12:55 pm

Inderscience and JournalTOCs agree to develop a Joint Industry Project (JIP)

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Inderscience Publishers, a SMT publisher of over 340 peer-reviewed international journals have awarded funding to the Institute for Computer Based Learning (ICBL) at Heriot Watt University for an initial period of five months to create a prototype of a new XML-first workflow technology to produce scholarly output in a variety of digital market channel ready forms, in particular current-awareness oriented reusable formats. The project will use the new prototype to demonstrate a smart personalised current-awareness web interface and to trial a suitable open licence policy for the RSS feeds produced by scholarly publishers.

Joint Industry Projects (JIP) offer a route for JournalTOCs to carry out expensive research and development of proof of concepts and prototypes by spreading the risk and costs over ICBL and its industrial partners. A JIP also provides the JournalTOCs Team with the opportunity of working within a real industrial environmental.

This new JIP, codenamed X-PARC, will continue a synergistic partnership initiated in 2003 with scholarly publishers when ICBL was awarded funding from the JISC PALS Metadata and Interoperability Programme (phase 1). The partnerships have contributed significantly to the development of research projects and the creation of services at ICBL.

ICBL and Inderscience Publishers have worked together in the past in the following projects:

Those projects have provided ICBL with first-hand insight of scholarly publishing experience and their challenges within the current digital environment. They also have enabled us to study and develop innovative solutions for the demands of academics and researchers for intuitive and efficient information discovery systems to access content published by scholarly publishers.

Written by Santiago Chumbe

March 10th, 2012 at 11:39 am

Percentage of scholarly publishers that have adopted the Recommendations on RSS Feeds

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It is now two years since the ticTOCs Best Practice Recommendation group, headed by CrossRef and consisting of members from Talis, Nature Publishing Group, Oxford University Press and Heriot-Watt University; published the “Recommendations on RSS Feeds for Scholarly Publishers.”

RSS feeds are designed to be aggregated and reused by other services and software applications. In general RSS feeds should always be created with this in mind. The Recommendations are in full agreement with this principle.

Back in 2009, two practices were noticed by the ticTOCs Project:

  1. there was a wide variation amongst the journal TOC RSS feeds produced by scholarly publishers, and
  2. in most of the cases the feeds’ content had very limited information on the articles, such as uniquely the title and the link to the article’s webpage.

Variations in the way publisher implement RSS feeds basically preclude the consistent and automated aggregation of feeds. At the same time, having little content to offer, limit the reusability and value of feeds for other services that want to create interesting applications by combining the feeds. The Recommendations were created to help publishers avoid the inconveniences created by those two practices, and to advocate good practice in the production and provision of TOC RSS feeds for scholarly journals.

There are signs that the Recommendations are gradually being embraced to a certain extent, but how many scholarly publishers have really implemented the Recommendations in their journal TOC RSS feeds? There’s no way to get an exact number, but we can get a good idea of the progress being made by taking a look at the number of journals that are using the four RSS 1.0 modules recommended by the group, namely Admin, Content, Dublin Core and PRISM modules.

Today we have examined the RSS feeds of the journals collected by JournalTOCs to get an approximate picture of how many publishers are making the move. Currently 17,112 journals from 917 publishers are being indexed by JournalTOCs.

Interestingly no journal uses the Admin module in their RSS feeds. Only a few hundreds of subscription journals make use of the Content module. However those two modules are not particularly relevant from the re-usability perspective (the Admin module is intended to be used by consumers of a feed to provide feedback on errors encountered in the feed and the Content module is used to include formatted HTML marked up content for browsers.) The modules that really can give us a good indication of the Recommendations’ uptake are the Dublin Core and PRISM modules.

8,025 journals are using Dublin Core, PRISM or both modules; but only 3,673 of those journals are using both modules.

If we put the figures from the number of publishers’ perspective, 425 publishers are using Dublin Core, PRISM or both modules; and 295 of them use both Dublin Core and PRISM modules.

Regarding Open Access Journals, there are 2,660 Open Access journals in JournalTOCs, and 708 of them have implemented either the Dublin Core or the PRISM module; but only 288 of Open Access journals use both Dublin Core and PRISM modules.

Publishers and journals are using Dublin Core and PRISM modules

In conclusion: There is still a long way to go. Only 31% of the publishers are using the two main modules and in some extend have adopted the Recommendations. This is equivalent to 22% of the journals. To make a real progress two things should happen: (1) Elsevier, Springer-Verlag and Taylor and Francis together publish over 6,000 journals. A significant step forward will only be made when those three large publishers adopt the Recommendations. (2) An inexplicable low number of Open Access journals have implemented the recommendations. Without proper orientation and guidance, the publishers of OA journals so far haven’t been able to grasp the benefits of adopting best practices and using standard modules for their RSS feeds.

Written by Santiago Chumbe

October 29th, 2011 at 3:01 pm