A Multi-match Approach to the Author Uncertainty Problem

Authors: Stephen F. Carley, Alan L. Porter, Jan L. Youtie

Purpose

The ability to identify the scholarship of individual authors is essential for performance evaluation. A number of factors hinder this endeavor. Common and similarly spelled surnames make it difficult to isolate the scholarship of individual authors indexed on large databases.

Variations in name spelling of individual scholars further complicates matters. Common family names in scientific powerhouses like China make it problematic to distinguish between authors possessing ubiquitous and/or anglicized surnames (as well as the same or similar first names).

The assignment of unique author identifiers provides a major step toward resolving these difficulties. We maintain, however, that in and of themselves, author identifiers are not sufficient to fully address the author uncertainty problem.

In this study we build on the author identifier approach by considering commonalities in fielded data between authors containing the same surname and first initial of their first name. We illustrate our approach using three case studies.

Design/methodology/approach

The approach we advance in this study is based on commonalities among fielded data in search results. We cast a broad initial net—i.e., a Web of Science (WOS) search for a given author’s last name, followed by a comma, followed by the first initial of his or her first name (e.g., a search for ‘John Doe’ would assume the form: ‘Doe, J’).

Results for this search typically contain all of the scholarship legitimately belonging to this author in the given database (i.e., all of his or her true positives), along with a large amount of noise, or scholarship not belonging to this author (i.e., a large number of false positives).

From this corpus we proceed to iteratively weed out false positives and retain true positives. Author identifiers provide a good starting point—e.g., if ‘Doe, J’ and ‘Doe, John’ share the same author identifier, this would be sufficient for us to conclude these are one and the same individual.

We find email addresses similarly adequate—e.g., if two author names which share the same surname and same first initial have an email address in common, we conclude these authors are the same person.

Author identifier and email address data is not always available, however. When this occurs, other fields are used to address the author uncertainty problem.

Commonalities among author data other than unique identifiers and email addresses is less conclusive for name consolidation purposes. For example, if ‘Doe, John’ and ‘Doe, J’ have an affiliation in common, do we conclude that these names belong the same person?

They may or may not; affiliations have employed two or more faculty members sharing the same last and first initial. Similarly, it’s conceivable that two individuals with the same last name and first initial publish in the same journal, publish with the same co-authors, and/or cite the same references.

Should we then ignore commonalities among these fields and conclude they’re too imprecise for name consolidation purposes? It is our position that such commonalities are indeed valuable for addressing the author uncertainty problem, but more so when used in combination.

Our approach makes use of automation as well as manual inspection, relying initially on author identifiers, then commonalities among fielded data other than author identifiers, and finally manual verification.

To achieve name consolidation independent of author identifier matches, we have developed a procedure that is used with bibliometric software called VantagePoint (see www.thevantagepoint.com) While the application of our technique does not exclusively depend on VantagePoint, it is the software we find most efficient in this study.

The script we developed to implement this procedure is designed to implement our name disambiguation procedure in a way that significantly reduces manual effort on the user’s part.

Those who seek to replicate our procedure independent of VantagePoint can do so by manually following the method we outline, but we note that the manual application of our procedure takes a significant amount of time and effort, especially when working with larger datasets.

Our script begins by prompting the user for a surname and a first initial (for any author of interest). It then prompts the user to select a WOS field on which to consolidate author names.

After this the user is prompted to point to the name of the authors field, and finally asked to identify a specific author name (referred to by the script as the primary author) within this field whom the user knows to be a true positive (a suggested approach is to point to an author name associated with one of the records that has the author’s ORCID iD or email address attached to it).

The script proceeds to identify and combine all author names sharing the primary author’s surname and first initial of his or her first name who share commonalities in the WOS field on which the user was prompted to consolidate author names. T

his typically results in significant reduction in the initial dataset size. After the procedure completes the user is usually left with a much smaller (and more manageable) dataset to manually inspect (and/or apply additional name disambiguation techniques to).

Research limitations

Match field coverage can be an issue. When field coverage is paltry dataset reduction is not as significant, which results in more manual inspection on the user’s part. Our procedure doesn’t lend itself to scholars who have had a legal family name change (after marriage, for example).

Moreover, the technique we advance is (sometimes, but not always) likely to have a difficult time dealing with scholars who have changed careers or fields dramatically, as well as scholars whose work is highly interdisciplinary.

Practical implications

The procedure we advance has the ability to save a significant amount of time and effort for individuals engaged in name disambiguation research, especially when the name under consideration is a more common family name. It is more effective when match field coverage is high and a number of match fields exist.

Originality/value

Once again, the procedure we advance has the ability to save a significant amount of time and effort for individuals engaged in name disambiguation research. It combines preexisting with more recent approaches, harnessing the benefits of both.

Findings

Our study applies the name disambiguation procedure we advance to three case studies. Ideal match fields are not the same for each of our case studies. We find that match field effectiveness is in large part a function of field coverage. Comparing original dataset size, the timeframe analyzed for each case study is not the same, nor are the subject areas in which they publish.

Our procedure is more effective when applied to our third case study, both in terms of list reduction and 100% retention of true positives. We attribute this to excellent match field coverage, and especially in more specific match fields, as well as having a more modest/manageable number of publications.

While machine learning is considered authoritative by many, we do not see it as practical or replicable. The procedure advanced herein is both practical, replicable and relatively user friendly.

It might be categorized into a space between ORCID and machine learning. Machine learning approaches typically look for commonalities among citation data, which is not always available, structured or easy to work with.

The procedure we advance is intended to be applied across numerous fields in a dataset of interest (e.g. emails, coauthors, affiliations, etc.), resulting in multiple rounds of reduction. Results indicate that effective match fields include author identifiers, emails, source titles, co-authors and ISSNs.

While the script we present is not likely to result in a dataset consisting solely of true positives (at least for more common surnames), it does significantly reduce manual effort on the user’s part. Dataset reduction (after our procedure is applied) is in large part a function of (a) field availability and (b) field coverage.

URL : A Multi-match Approach to the Author Uncertainty Problem

DOI : https://doi.org/10.2478/jdis-2019-0006

Perceived publication pressure in Amsterdam: Survey of all disciplinary fields and academic ranks

Authors : Tamarinde L. Haven, Lex M. Bouter, Yvo M. Smulders, Joeri K. Tijdink

Publications determine to a large extent the possibility to stay in academia (“publish or perish”). While some pressure to publish may incentivise high quality research, too much publication pressure is likely to have detrimental effects on both the scientific enterprise and on individual researchers.

Our research question was: What is the level of perceived publication pressure in the four academic institutions in Amsterdam and does the pressure to publish differ between academic ranks and disciplinary fields?

Investigating researchers in Amsterdam with the revised Publication Pressure Questionnaire, we find that a negative attitude towards the current publication climate is present across academic ranks and disciplinary fields.

Postdocs and assistant professors (M = 3.42) perceive the greatest publication stress and PhD-students (M = 2.44) perceive a significant lack of resources to relieve publication stress. Results indicate the need for a healthier publication climate where the quality and integrity of research is rewarded.

URL : Perceived publication pressure in Amsterdam: Survey of all disciplinary fields and academic ranks

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0217931

Citation.js: a format-independent, modular bibliography tool for the browser and command line

Author : Lars G Willighagen

Background

Given the vast number of standards and formats for bibliographical data, any program working with bibliographies and citations has to be able to interpret such data. This paper describes the development of Citation.js (https://citation.js.org/), a tool to parse and format according to those standards.

The program follows modern guidelines for software in general and JavaScript in specific, such as version control, source code analysis, integration testing and semantic versioning.

Results

The result is an extensible tool that has already seen adaption in a variety of sources and use cases: as part of a server-side page generator of a publishing platform, as part of a local extensible document generator, and as part of an in-browser converter of extracted references.

Use cases range from transforming a list of DOIs or Wikidata identifiers into a BibTeX file on the command line, to displaying RIS references on a webpage with added Altmetric badges to generating “How to cite this” sections on a blog.

The accuracy of conversions is currently 27 % for properties and 60 % for types on average and a typical initialization takes 120 ms in browsers and 1 s with Node.js on the command line.

Conclusions

Citation.js is a library supporting various formats of bibliographic information in a broad selection of use cases and environments. Given the support for plugins, more formats can be added with relative ease.

URL : Citation.js: a format-independent, modular bibliography tool for the browser and command line

DOI : https://doi.org/10.7287/peerj.preprints.27466v2

Share or perish: Social media and the International Journal of Mental Health Nursing

Authors : Paul McNamara, Kim Usher

The impact of published research is sometimes measured by the number of citations an individual article accumulates. However, the time from publication to citation can be extensive. Years may pass before authors are able to measure the impact of their publication. Social media provides individuals and organizations a powerful medium with which to share information.

The power of social media is sometimes harnessed to share scholarly works, especially journal article citations and quotes. A non‐traditional bibliometric is required to understand the impact social media has on disseminating scholarly works/research.

The International Journal of Mental Health Nursing (IJMHN) appointed a social media editor as of 1 January 2017 to implement a strategy to increase the impact and reach of the journal’s articles.

To measure the impact of the IJMHN social media strategy, quantitative data for the eighteen months prior to the social media editor start date, and the eighteen months after that date (i.e.: from 01 July 2015 to 30 June 2018) were acquired and analysed.

Quantitative evidence demonstrates the effectiveness of one journal’s social media strategy in increasing the reach and readership of the articles it publishes.

This information may be of interest to those considering where to publish their research, those wanting to amplify the reach of their research, those who fund research, and journal editors and boards.

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1111/inm.12600

The citation advantage of linking publications to research data

Authors : Giovanni Colavizza, Iain Hrynaszkiewicz, Isla Staden, Kirstie Whitaker, Barbara McGillivray

Efforts to make research results open and reproducible are increasingly reflected by journal policies encouraging or mandating authors to provide data availability statements.

As a consequence of this, there has been a strong uptake of data availability statements in recent literature. Nevertheless, it is still unclear what proportion of these statements actually contain well-formed links to data, for example via a URL or permanent identifier, and if there is an added value in providing them.

We consider 531,889 journal articles published by PLOS and BMC which are part of the PubMed Open Access collection, categorize their data availability statements according to their content and analyze the citation advantage of different statement categories via regression.

We find that, following mandated publisher policies, data availability statements have become common by now, yet statements containing a link to a repository are still just a fraction of the total.

We also find that articles with these statements, in particular, can have up to 25.36% higher citation impact on average: an encouraging result for all publishers and authors who make the effort of sharing their data. All our data and code are made available in order to reproduce and extend our results.

URL : https://arxiv.org/abs/1907.02565

Service intermediation as a concept for an institutional publishing department

Authors  : Fabian Cremer, Katrin Neumann

The service portfolio of the institutional publishing platform perspectivia.net is built on partnerships, cooperations, and community networks. The paper discusses context, preconditions, best practices and challenges of an institutional service concept relying on services outside the institution.

URL : https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-02141898/

Narrowing the Gap Between Publication and Access: Is a Mandate Enough to Get Us Closer?

Authors : Maria Manuel Borges, António Tavares Lopes

Changes brought about by the Internet to Scholarly Communication and the spread of Open Access movement, have made it possible to increase the number of potential readers of published research dramatically.

This two-phase study aims, at first, to assert the satisfaction of the potential for increased open access to articles published by authors at the University of Coimbra, in a context when there was no stimulus for the openness of published science other than an institutional mandate set by the University policy on Open Access (“Acesso Livre”).

The satisfaction of the access openness was measured by observing the actual archiving behavior of researchers (either directly or through their agents). We started by selecting the top journal titles used to publish the STEM research of the University of Coimbra (2004-2013) by using Thomson Reuters’ Science Citation Index (SCI). These titles were available at the University libraries or through online subscriptions, some of them in open access (21%).

By checking the journals’ policy at the time regarding self-archiving at the SHERPA/RoMEO service, we found that the percentage of articles in Open Access (OA) could rise to 80% if deposited at Estudo Geral, the Institutional Repository of the University of Coimbra, as prescribed by the Open Access Policy of the University.

As we concluded by verifying the deposit status of every single paper of researchers of the University that published in those journals, this potential was far from being fulfilled, despite the existence of the institutional mandate and favorable editorial conditions.

We concluded, therefore, that an institutional mandate was not sufficient by itself to fully implement an open access policy and to close the gap between publication and access.

The second phase of the study, to follow, will rescan the status of published papers in a context where the Portuguese public funding agency, the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, introduced in 2014 a new significant stimulus for open access in science.

The FCT Open Access Policy stipulates that publicly funded published research must be available as soon as possible in a repository of the Portuguese network of scientific repositories, RCAAP, which integrates the Estudo Geral.

URL : Narrowing the Gap Between Publication and Access: Is a Mandate Enough to Get Us Closer?

DOI : 10.20944/preprints201906.0154.v1